Conquer 'Conduire': Mastering French Verbs for Driving

May 15th, 2023 - Vera

The French language, known for its elegance and precision, has a verb for nearly every action imaginable. The verb ‘conduire’ is no exception. Translated to ‘to drive’ in English, ‘conduire’ covers not just the literal act of driving a vehicle, but also metaphorical driving forces. This comprehensive guide will provide a detailed look at ‘conduire’, its conjugation, usage, and role in common phrases, offering you a roadmap to mastering this key French verb.

‘Conduire’ At a Glance

‘Conduire’ is an irregular -re verb, meaning its conjugation deviates from the standard patterns. Here’s the present tense conjugation:

The past participle of ‘conduire’ is ‘conduit’, used with the auxiliary verb ‘avoir’ to form compound tenses like the passé composé. For example, ‘j’ai conduit’ means ‘I have driven’ or ‘I drove’.

Basic Usage of ‘Conduire’

At its most basic level, ‘conduire’ is used to express the act of driving a vehicle:

It’s important to note that ‘conduire’ isn’t just limited to driving cars. It can be used for driving any kind of vehicle, including buses, trucks, and motorcycles.

‘Conduire’ in Different Tenses

The irregular nature of ‘conduire’ means its conjugation in different tenses can be challenging to remember. Here are the conjugations for the most commonly used tenses:

Advanced Uses of ‘Conduire’

Beyond its literal translation, ‘conduire’ is used in various contexts to express different actions:

  1. Leading or guiding: ‘Conduire’ can be used to mean ‘to lead’ or ‘to guide’, especially in a metaphorical sense. For example, ‘Il conduit l’équipe vers la victoire’ means ‘He is leading the team to victory.’

  2. Conducting or carrying out: ‘Conduire’ can also mean ‘to conduct’ or ‘to carry out’. For instance, ‘Il conduit une enquête’ translates to ‘He is conducting an investigation.’

  3. Resulting in: When used in a reflexive form with ‘à’, ‘se conduire à’ can mean ‘to result in’. For example, ‘Cela se conduit à des problèmes’ means ‘This leads to problems.’

Common Expressions with ‘Conduire’

‘Conduire’ also appears in many expressions and idiomatic phrases:

Mastering ‘Conduire’

To truly understand ‘conduire’ and its various uses, consider these strategies:

  1. Regular Practice: The key to mastering any verb, especially irregular ones like ‘conduire’, is regular practice. Make it a habit to use ‘conduire’ in sentences, focusing on different tenses and contexts.

  2. Contextual Usage: Try to use ‘conduire’ in as many real-life situations as possible. The more you use ‘conduire’ in context, the more natural it will become.

  3. Learn Expressions: Familiarize yourself with common expressions that use ‘conduire’. These phrases will enrich your French vocabulary and give you a deeper understanding of how ‘conduire’ is used in everyday speech.

  4. Engage with French Media: Consuming French media, like books, movies, and music, can provide valuable exposure to ‘conduire’ and other verbs. This will enhance your understanding of ‘conduire’ in real-world situations and improve your overall language proficiency.


The verb ‘conduire’ is integral to the French language, offering a way to express not only the act of driving but also concepts of leading, conducting, and resulting in. While it is an irregular verb and can be a bit tricky to master, understanding ‘conduire’ opens up a wealth of expression in French.

Remember that learning a language is about much more than memorizing words and their meanings. It’s about understanding the cultural and contextual nuances that bring the language to life. So, as you continue your journey of learning French, embrace the richness and complexity of the language. Whether you’re literally driving a car or metaphorically driving a project forward, ‘conduire’ will serve as a valuable tool in your French language toolkit.

Bonne chance avec votre apprentissage du français! (Good luck with your French learning!)

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