French Verb Focus: Rire (To Laugh)


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French Verb Focus: Rire (To Laugh)

Rire, to laugh, is an irregular verb. The most unusual thing to notice is the double letter i that appears in the present subjunctive, first and second person plural (nous and vous forms). As usual, there are several colloquial expressions that are not exact equivalents of our English ones, such as to split one’s sides (to laugh like a whale in French) or force oneself to laugh (to laugh with the end of one’s teeth).


Je ris – I laugh, I am laughing
Tu ris – you laugh, you are laughing (singular, familiar)
Il rit – he/it laughs, he/it is laughing
Elle rit – she/it laughs, she/it is laughing
Nous rions – we laugh, we are laughing
Vous riez – you laugh, you are laughing (polite, plural)
Ils rient – they laugh, they are laughing (m.)
Elles rient – they laugh, they are laughing (f.)


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


Je rirai comme une baleine. – I will split my sides/laugh myself silly.
Tu riras dans ta barbe. – You will laugh to yourself.
Il rira aux éclats. – He will laugh his head off.
Elle rira de bon coeur. – She will laugh heartily.
Nous rirons aux larmes. – We will laugh until we cry.
Vous rirez bien. – You will have a good laugh.
Ils riront aux dépens de leur amis. – They will have a laugh at the expense of their friends.
Elles riront du bout des dents. – They will force themselves to laugh.


Je riais de ma soeur. – I was laughing at my sister.


Je rirais sous cape. – I would have a quiet laugh.


ris – laugh (tu form)
rions – let’s laugh
riez – laugh (vous form)


Il faut que je rie pour ne pas pleurer. – I must laugh so that I don’t cry.
Il faut que nous riions. – We must laugh. (Note the double i, which is also present in the second person plural or vous form.)

With thanks to Elizabeth Allen

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