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Conjugate -eter and -eler verbs in Le Présent - exceptions in 'è'

Verbs ending in -ETER and -ELER such as geler, acheter, congeler ... are semi-regular -ER verbs in Présent indicatif, which means that, even though they take the regular -ER endings of Présent indicatif, their spelling and subsequently their pronunciation vary. 

The majority of -ETER and -ELER verbs follow this rule: they double the T or L with je/tu/il/elle/on/ils/elles.  
To practise these verbs, see the related lesson Conjugate -eter and -eler verbs in Le Présent - main rule (ll / tt)

HOWEVER with every rule come exceptions ! 

The following-ETER and -ELER verbs behave differently.
They always and only take the accent è on the first -e (-eter/-eler) with je/tu/il/elle/on/ils/elles (they can never double the T or L).

Here is the example of GELER (to freeze):

je gèle
tu gèles
il/elle/on gèle
nous gelons
vous gelez
ils/elles gèlent
Note that ONLY the nous and vous forms don't change.

Of course, the pronunciation is affected: gèle/gèles/gèlent are pronounced [jell], whereas gelons/gelez are [juh-lon / juh-ley]

And here is the example of ACHETER (to buy):

j'achète
tu achètes
il/elle/on achète
nous achetons
vous achetez
ils/elles achètent
Note that ONLY the nous and vous forms don't change.

Of course, the pronunciation is affected: achète/achètes/achètent are pronounced [achette], whereas achetons/achetez are [achuh-ton / achuh-tey]

Here is the complete list of exceptions, so you just need to know them (or at least the ones you might actually use (*), as most of the other ones are extremely rare!) :

-ELER:
agneler - to yean / give birth to a lamb
celer - to conceal
receler - to conceal / to receive, hold stolen goods
ciseler - to chisel
démanteler - to dismantle / take down
écarteler - to quarter
s'encasteler - to be hoof bound
geler - to freeze
dégeler - to thaw (out)
congeler - to freeze [something]
surgeler - to quick-freeze [something]
marteler - to hammer
modeler - to model, to mould [US: to mold]
peler - to peel (off)
- ETER:
acheter - to buy
racheter - to buy again, to acquire, to buy back
bégueter - to bleat (goat)
corseter - to corset
crocheter - to pick (a lock), to crochet
fileter - to thread
fureter - to rummage, to nose about
haleter - to pant

 

Look and listen at these other examples:

Le détective démantèle des réseaux criminels, et vous les démantelez avec lui.
The detective dismantles criminal networks, and you dismantle them with him.

Elles rachètent sa maison, et vous rachetez la leur.
They buy her house back and you buy theirs back.

Tu achètes des bananes et nous achetons des tomates.
You buy bananas and we buy tomatoes.

La route gèle en hiver.
The road freezes in winter.

Je pèle les pommes de terre et vous pelez les pommes.
I'm peeling the potatoes and you're peeling the apples.

Ma grand-mère ne congèle jamais les légumes, mais nous, nous congelons tout !
My grandma never freezes vegetables, but we freeze everything!

Ma petite sœur furète partout, mais nous, nous ne furetons jamais.
My little sister rummages everywhere, but we never rummage about.

And to study other -E(-)ER and -É(-)ER verbs, see Conjugate -é(-)er, -e(-)er verbs in Le Présent (except -eter and -eler)

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Elles rachètent sa maison, et vous rachetez la leur.
They buy her house back and you buy theirs back.


La route gèle en hiver.
The road freezes in winter.


Je pèle les pommes de terre et vous pelez les pommes.
I'm peeling the potatoes and you're peeling the apples.


Ma petite sœur furète partout, mais nous, nous ne furetons jamais.
My little sister rummages everywhere, but we never rummage about.


Tu achètes des bananes et nous achetons des tomates.
You buy bananas and we buy tomatoes.


Ma grand-mère ne congèle jamais les légumes, mais nous, nous congelons tout !
My grandma never freezes vegetables, but we freeze everything!


Le détective démantèle des réseaux criminels, et vous les démantelez avec lui.
The detective dismantles criminal networks, and you dismantle them with him.


Mes amis pèlent tous les étés !
My friends' skin peels every summer.


Q&A

harriet

Kwiziq community member

5 March 2017

1 reply

All e-er and é-er verbs take the è?

Would it make sense to just think of it as all e-er and é-er verbs (except jeter/appeler and derivatives) taking an è, rather than trying to remember all the exceptions? Or is using the double L/T on the ones that take it preferable?

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

10 March 2017

10/03/17

Bonjour Harriet !

The reason why we divided it in three lessons is that:
- as you wrote, all e-er and é-er take "è" BUT eter and eler verbs which have *different* exceptions
- some eter and eler take only "ll" or "tt"
- some eter and eler take only "èl" or "èt"

I hope that makes it clearer!
À bientôt !

Jennifer

Kwiziq community member

10 December 2016

2 replies

Paul et anne achètent leur première maison

Could this be phrased as Paul et Anne sont en train d'acheter leur première maison

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

12 December 2016

12/12/16

Bonjour Jennifer !

Yes, you could also use Le Présent Progressif here to emphasise the fact that the action is in the process of happening.

Jennifer

Kwiziq community member

12 December 2016

12/12/16

Mercie Aurélie

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