The French verb avoir

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French auxiliary verbs: 1.    avoir - forms and use

Auxiliaries are functional verbs that are added to other verbs in order to form particular tenses.

1.  Avoir 
Avoir - to have - is a verb with two roles

►Firstly it is a lexical verb in its own right, meaning "to have" or "to possess".

We have a beautiful black cat
 - Nous avons un beau chat noir.
Tomorrow I'll have plenty of time.
 Demain j'aurai beaucoup de temps.
The professor had several research assistants
  Le professeur avait plusieurs assistants de recherche.
You've had enough time !.
 Vous avez eu assez de temps.
You'll have had enough of it by tomorrow.
 Vous en aurez eu assez d'ici demain..
It's possible that he may have flu.
 Il est possible qu'il ait la grippe.
Have some respect, please.
 Ayez du respect, s'il vous plaît !.

►Secondly it is an auxiliary which combines with the past participle of most French verbs to form certain tenses.

I've broken my computer
  J'ai cassé mon ordinateur.
The president has promised to introduce several reforms.
  Le président a promis d'introduire plusieurs réformes.
The child had lost his mother
  L'enfant avait perdu sa maman.
I'd have failed if my brother hadn't helped me
 J'aurais échoué si mon frère ne m'avait pas aidé

Principal tenses formed using the auxiliary avoir :

The perfect or composite past (passé composé). Formed with the present tense of avoir and a past participle.
Example: J'ai mangé  - I've eaten
The pluperfect or past-perfect (passé antérieur). Formed with the imperfect tense of avoir and a past participle.
Example: J'avais mangé  -  I had eaten
The future-perfect  (futur antérieur). Formed with the future tense of avoir and a past participle.
Example: J'aurai mangé - I will have eaten
The past conditional  (passé conditionnel). Formed with the conditional tense of avoir and a past participle.
Example: J'aurais mangé - I would have eaten

Verb tables: Avoir

Note:  For each tense, a sample English equivalent is given for the first person singular. This represents the most common translation of the tense in question, but not the only possibility.

Table 1.  Indicative tenses 1 :
Person Present
(I have)
(I will have)
(I had / was having)
1st Singular. j'ai j'aurai j'avais
2nd Singular tu as tu auras tu avais
3rd Singular il / elle / on ... a il (..) aura il (..) avait
1st plural nous avons nous aurons nous avions
2nd plural vous avez vous aurez vous aviez
3rd plural ils / elles ont ils auront ils avaient

the present indicative is also used as an auxiliary to form the perfect (passé composé) tense
The future indicative is also used as an auxiliary to form the future-perfect (futur-antérieur tense)
The imperfect indicative is also used as an auxiliary to form the pluperfect or past perfect (passé antérieur) tense

Table 2.  Indicative tenses 2 - past tenses :
Person Preterite
(I had)
Perfect (passé composé)
(I have had)
(I'd had)
1st Singular. j'eus j'ai eu j'avais eu
2nd Singular tu eus tu as eu tu avais eu
3rd Singular il (..) eut il (..) a eu il avait eu
1st plural nous eûmes nous avons eu nous avions eu
2nd plural vous eûtes vous avez eu vous aviez eu
3rd plural ils eurent ils ont eu ils avaient eu

The preterire indicative is also used as an alternative auxiliary to form the pluperfect or past perfect (passé antérieur) tense. In the case of the verb avoir, this is rarely - if ever - used; example  j'eus eu

Table 3. Future-perfect and conditional  :
Person Future perfect
(I will have had)
(I would have)
Past conditional
(I would have had)
1st Singular. j'aurai eu j'aurais  j'aurais eu
2nd Singular tu auras eu tu aurais  tu aurais eu
3rd Singular il aura eu il aurait  il aurait eu
1st plural nous aurons eu nous aurions  nous aurions eu
2nd plural vous aurez eu vous auriez  vous auriez eu
3rd plural ils auront eu ils auraient  ils auraient eu

Table 4
. Imperative . Present participle
Person (have)
2nd Singular aies . ayant
1st plural ayons .
2nd plural ayez .

Table 5
Tenses (subjunctive) :
Person Present
(may have)
(might have)
Perfect (parfait)
(may have had)
1st Singular. aie eusse aie eu
2nd Singular aies eusses aies eu
3rd Singular ait eût ait eu
1st plural ayons eussions ayons eu
2nd plural ayez eussiez ayez eu
3rd plural aient eussent aient eu

Further subjunctive cases - such as a pluperfect subjunctive - can theoretically be formed, though to all intents and purposes these are never used in modern French.

► Continue with the auxiliary être
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