Exploring the Art of “Naître”: Your Comprehensive Guide to the French Verb


The French language is filled with verbs that capture the essence of living. One verb that symbolizes the beginning of life and creation is ‘naître,’ translating to ‘to be born’ in English. This verb has a two-fold importance – it is a highly meaningful word depicting origins and beginnings, plus it is one of the key irregular French verbs. This blog post will guide you through its conjugation and its myriad applications.

  1. Birth and Origins:
    The basic and most common use of ‘naître’ is to denote the birth of a biological being, or to mark the origin or start of something. Here are a few examples:
    • Je suis né(e) en 1990 à Paris. (I was born in Paris in 1990.)
    • Picasso est né en Espagne, mais a passé la majeure partie de sa vie en France. (Picasso was born in Spain, but has spent most of his life in France.)
    • La Renaissance est née en Italie au XIVᵉ siècle. (The Renaissance was born in Italy in the 14th century.)
  2. Emergence or Arrival of Ideas:
    The verb ‘naître’ can also imply the emergence or arrival of ideas or feelings. Here are some instances:
    • Une idée géniale est née dans son esprit. (A brilliant idea was born in his mind.)
    • De leur collaboration est née une amitié durable. (A lasting friendship was born out of their collaboration.)
    • De cette tragédie est née une forte volonté de changer les choses. (From this tragedy, a strong desire to change things was born.)
  3. Referring to Sun or Moon:
    ‘Naître’ subtly showcases its poetic side when used to refer to the rising of the sun or moon.
    • La lune est née sur l’horizon. (The moon was born on the horizon.)
    • Le jour est né avec le chant des oiseaux. (The day was born with the chirping of birds.)

Understanding Naître’s Conjugation:

‘Naître’ is an irregular verb and doesn’t strictly follow typical French verb conjugation patterns. Thus, it’s important to familiarize oneself with its different forms. Here are a few examples of its conjugation in the present tense:

  • Je nais
  • Tu nais
  • Il/Elle/On naît
  • Nous naissons
  • Vous naissez
  • Ils/Elles naissent

Conversely, in the Passé Composé (a commonly used past tense), ‘naître’ becomes ‘né’ and utilizes ‘être’ as its auxiliary verb. For instance, ‘Je suis né(e).’ (I was born.)

Note: The past participle ‘né’ agrees in gender and number with the subject.


Understanding the usage of ‘naître’ goes beyond mere verb conjugation – it allows you to express beginnings, origin, ideas, and at times, even the day’s birth or end. As you continue your journey in French, try incorporating ‘naître’ in your conversations. It’s not just about saying when you were born – it’s about describing origins, beginnings, the birth of ideas and creativity, and the cyclical nature of day and night. Through ‘naître,’ embrace the beauty of life’s many beginnings!