In the list of the must-know French verbs, those that you need to learn to unlock a great number of expressions and develop your understanding of the language, you should add the French verb prendre which primarily means to take in English.
In this post, you will see that prendre can signify lots of different things depending on the context and you will learn how to conjugate to take in French in common tenses like the present, future, imparfait, passé composé, conditional, and subjunctive tense. Keep on reading to learn more.
What is the actual meaning of the French verb prendre?
Like faire, aller, être or avoir, the verb prendre is one of the most useful French verbs. The English translation of prendre is to take. But to take can have different meanings depending on the situations or contexts of use. Prendre can mean to catch, hold, take in, pick up, seize, capture, ...
Generally, the verb prendre is used when talking about
means of transport (bus, train, métro, taxi, avion, ... : e.g je prends le bus pour aller à l’école. => I go to school by bus.
objects; e.g Elle prend son ordinateur avec elle. => She is taking her laptop with her.
Directions; e.g Prenez la première rue à votre droite => Take the first street on your right.
food or drinks; e.g Nous prenons notre petit déjeuner ensemble. => We take our breakfast together.
The verb prendre is also used in lots of idiomatic expressions like se prendre la tête, prendre ses jambes à son cou, prendre quelqu’un en fragrant délit, and more. In these cases, the meaning of prendre is not to be taken literally but in the context.
How to conjugate the verb prendre and its derivatives in the French language?
The conjugation of the verb prendre has irregular patterns. You have no other choice but to learn it by heart, preferably in context.
If you know how to use the verb prendre you’ll unlock the conjugation of it's derivatives like
comprendre : to understand
apprendre : to learn
désapprendre : to unlearn
se déprendre: to get rid of, to distance oneself form something
se méprendre :to be mistaken about
surprendre: to surprise, to amaze
s'éprendre: to become passionate about something, to fall in love
reprendre: to take back
entreprendre : to undertake
Below is it’s conjugation in some key tenses like present tense, imperfect, simple future, passé composé, conditional and more.
For the future tense, the stem is PRENDR to which you should add the usual endings.
For the passé composé and other compound tenses like conditionnel passé, plus-que-parfait, the past participle of prendre is pris.
So for the derivatives the past participles will be, compris, appris, désappris, dépris, mépris, surpris, repris, entrepris.
Tu as pris
Il/elle a pris
Nous avons pris
Vous avez pris
Ils/elles ont pris
Que je prenne
Que tu prennes
Que nous prenions
Que vous preniez
Daily Expressions with prendre that you should know
After learning how to use the verb to take in French, it will be great knowing few expressions that you can make use of most often.
Here is a list of 10 common expressions used daily with the verb prendre with their English translation.
Prendre des médicaments => to take medecines
Prendre une douche/un bain => to take a shower/bath
Prendre le bus/le train/le taxi = > to take the bus/the train/the taxi
Prendre son petit déjeuner => to take the breakfast
Prendre ses clés = to take one’s keys
Prendre un congé = to take a leave
Prendre congé = to leave
Prendre des cours => to take classes
prendre son temps => to take one’s time
prendre sa température => to take one's temperature.
Prendre l’habitude => to get into the habit
prendre froid => to get cold
prendre du poids => to gain some weight
prendre service => to start working
prendre connaissance: to take note of sthg, to be aware
prendre des nouvelles:
prendre le relais: to take over
s'en prendre à quelqu'un: to go after someone
mal prendre quelque chose: to take something the wrong way
Ne le prends pas mal: dont take it the wrong way
se faire prendre: to get caught
Practice on the verb Prendre and its derivatives
To help you master the verb Prendre and its derivatives in the present tense, take our test below. In this exercise, you are supposed to conjugate in the present tense the verb between brackets. The objective is for you to see the similarities in the conjugation of Prendre and all the verbs formed from it.
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