French verb focus: connaître, ‘to know’

French verb focus: <i>connaître</i>, ‘to know’

The French verb connaître means ‘to know’ in the sense of being acquainted with a person or place. It is an irregular verb mostly used in the present tense.

Present tense
Je connais la nouvelle. – I know the news.
Tu connais ton métier. – You know your job. (sing.fam.)
Il la connaît de vue. – He knows her by sight.
Elle le connaît mal. – She is underestimating him.
Nous n’y connaissons rien. – We don’t know a thing about it.
Vous connaissez les fleurs. – You know about flowers. (
Ils connaissent cette ville. – They know this town. (m.)
Elles ne connaissent pas bien les coutumes du pays. – They are not familiar with the customs of the country. (f.)

(sing.fam.) – singular, familiar
( – polite, plural

Passé composé
Je l’ai connu a l’ecole. – I knew him at school.
Tu m’as connu tout petit. – You knew me when I was a child.
Il a connu la vérité. – He found out the truth.
Elle a connu – she/it has known, she/it knew
Nous avons connu – we have known, we knew
Vous avez connu – you have known, you knew
Ils ont connu – they have known, they knew
Elles ont connu – they have known, they knew

Future tense
Je connaîtrai – I will know
Tu connaîtras – you will know
Il connaîtra – he/it will know
Elle connaîtra – she/it will know
Nous connaîtrons – we will know
Vous connaîtrez – you will know
Ils connaîtront – they will know
Elles connaîtront – they will know


Imperfect tense
Nous connaissions tous les gens du village. – We knew all the people of the village.

Conditional tense
Vous connaîtriez mieux ces gens si vous sortiez avec eux. – You would know those people better if you went out with them.

Present subjective
Il faut que je connaisse la vérité. – I must know the truth.

With thanks to Elizabeth Allen

Learn more on irregular verbs and learning French 

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