Conjugate voir, devoir, pouvoir, boire, croire, savoir, lire, taire (+ avoir) in Le Passé Composé (conversational past)

In Le Passé Composé (conversational past), some verbs have very short irregular past participles (vu, bu, cru, su, lu, tu, pu, dû).

Look at these sentences in Le Passé Composé:

As-tu vu l'éléphant rose?
Did you see the pink elephant?

Je ne l'ai jamais cru.
I never believed him.

Nous avons lu ce livre hier.
We read that book yesterday.

Elle n'a jamais su la vérité.
She never knew the truth.

Il a tu les raisons de son départ.
He kept quiet the reasons of his departure.

Ils ont bu toute la soirée.
They drank all night.

Vous avez pu rencontrer Sting.
You were able to meet Sting.
You could meet Sting.

J'ai dû annuler mon vol.
I had to cancel my flight.

Note that they all work with avoir as an auxiliary.
 

It's worth learning this list by heart since these verbs all have the same sounding short past participle:

voir (to see)  ->  vu
boire
 (to drink) -> bu
croire (to believe) -> cru
savoir 
(to know) -> su
lire 
(to read)  ->  lu
taire
(to silence, to keep quiet )  ->  tu    [rare]
pouvoir (to be able to)  ->  pu
devoir (to have to)  ->  

 

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Elle n'a jamais su la vérité.
She never knew the truth.



J'ai dû annuler mon vol.
I had to cancel my flight.


Nous avons lu ce livre hier.
We read that book yesterday.



Vous avez pu rencontrer Sting.
You were able to meet Sting.
You could meet Sting.



Je ne l'ai jamais cru.
I never believed him.



Ils ont bu toute la soirée.
They drank all night.



As-tu vu l'éléphant rose?
Did you see the pink elephant?



Il a tu les raisons de son départ.
He kept quiet the reasons of his departure.




Q&A

Jennifer

Kwiziq community member

2 February 2017

1 reply

J'ai su que tu étais venu me voir? I found out that you had come to see me.

Is this a usual way to say I found out. Why is the verb trouver or perhaps découvrir not used?

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

3 February 2017

3/02/17

Bonjour Jennifer ! Here we used a bit of translation licence, as the literal meaning is "I've known that...". But in French, using Le Passé Composé "J'ai su" implies that the knowledge is a punctual action here, so it actually refers more to the moment I acquired that knowledge, hence "found out" being a better translation in English. The most colloquial verb to say "to find out *something*" is "apprendre *quelque chose*": "J'ai appris que tu étais venu me voir." You would never use "trouver", and "découvrir" carries an extra sense of mystery and secret there. I hope that's helpful! À bientôt !
Thinking...