French verb focus: battre, ‘to beat’

French verb focus: <i>battre</i>, ‘to beat’

The verb battre is irregular, but it is quite common as it is used to mean ‘to hit’ or ‘to beat’ (in sport, at a game, or to beat eggs for example). There are one or two other expressions included below for clapping hands, stamping feet, calling up memories, rallying friends and scouring the countryside. A useful verb to know.

Present tense
Je bats – I beat, I am beating
Tu bats – you beat, you are beating (fam.sing.)
Il bat – he/it beats, he/it is beating
Elle bat – she/it beats, she/it is beating
Nous battons – we beat, we are beating
Vous battez – you beat, you are beating (
Ils battent – they beat, they are beating (m.)
Elles battent – they beat, they are beating (f.)

Perfect tense – passé composé
J’ai battu oeufs. – I’ve beaten the eggs.
Tu as battu ton adversaire? – Did you beat your opponent?
Il a battu son chien. – He beat/hit his dog.
Elle ne m’a jamais battu. – She has never beaten me.
Nous avons battu l’autre équipe. – We beat the other team.
Vous avez battu le rappel de vos souvenirs. – You summoned up your old memories.
Ils ont battu des mains. – They clapped their hands.
Elles ont battu le pays. – They scoured the countryside.


Future tense
Je battrai la mesure. – I will beat time. (music)
Tu battras le rappel de tes amis. – You will rally your friends.
Il leur battra froid. – He will give them the cold shoulder.
Elle battra les blancs d’oeuf. – She will beat the egg whites.
Nous ne battrons jamais nos enfants. – We will never beat our children.
Vous me battrez à plate couture. – You will beat me hands down.
Ils battront le fer pendant qu’il est chaud. – They will make hay while the sun shines/strike while the iron’s hot. (Proverb)
Elles battront les autres filles. – They will beat the other girls.

Imperfect tense
Mon coeur battait d’émotion. – My heart was pounding with emotion.

Conditional tense
Je ne battrais jamais mes animaux domestiques. – I would never hit my pets.

Bats des mains. – Clap your hands.
Battons les oeufs. – Let’s beat the eggs.
Battez la semelle. – Stamp your feet (to keep warm).

Il faut que vous battiez l’equipe de Bordeaux. – You must beat the team from Bordeaux.

With thanks to Elizabeth Allen

More irregular French verbs and language learning tips

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