French Verb Focus: Craindre or ‘To Fear’


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French Verb Focus: Craindre or ‘To Fear’

Craindre – to fear

Craindre means to fear, be afraid or be scared of. It is irregular, and you need to remember that the plural forms of the present tense (nous, vous, ils and elles) as well as the whole of the imperfect tense and the present subjunctive have craign- as their stem. The verb plaindre, to pity or feel sorry for, is conjugated in the same way.


Je crains – I fear, I am fearing
Tu crains – you fear, you are fearing (singular, familiar)
Il craint – he/it fears, he/it is fearing
Elle craint – she/it fears, she/it is fearing
Nous craignons – we fear, we are fearing
Vous craignez – you fear, you are fearing (polite, plural)
Ils craignent – they fear, they are fearing (m.)
Elles craignent – they fear, they are fearing (f.)


J’ai craint – I have feared, I feared, I did fear
Tu as craint – you have feared, I feared, I did fear
Il a craint – he/it has feared, he/it feared, he/it did fear
Elle a craint – she/it has feared, she/it feared, she/it did fear
Nous avons craint – we have feared, we feared, we did fear
Vous avez craint – you have feared, you feared, you did fear
Ils ont craint – they have feared, they feared, they did fear
Elles ont craint – they have feared, they feared, they did fear


Je ne craindrai pas de dire qu’il a tort. – I will not be afraid to say that he’s wrong.
Tu craindras de te faire mal? – Will you be afraid of hurting yourself?
Il craindra le pire. – He will fear the worst.
Elle craindra qu’ils attrapent froid. – She will be afraid that they might catch cold.
Nous craindrons de manquer le vol. – We will be afraid of missing the flight.
Vous craindrez d’arriver en retard. – You will be afraid of arriving late.
Ils craindront que nous venions. – They will be afraid that we might come.
Ces plantes, elles craindront le froid. – These plants will be easily damaged by the cold.


Je craignais toujours le pire. – I always used to fear the worst.


Je craindrais la mort. – I would be afraid of dying.


crains – fear (tu form)
craignons – let’s fear
craignez – fear (vous form)


Il ne faut pas que je craigne la douleur. – I must not fear pain.

•With thanks to Elizabeth Allen

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