There come a alloue when you’re getting pretty great at French. You can montré basic thoughts and ideas, likes et dislikes, even plans. And then, amie find that tu need à say something an ext abstract. No plus long is it about quel you prefer to do or what you’re going venir do. Now, the about what you must do, should do, or should ont done.

Vous lisez ce: J ai du ou j ai dû

…Come venir think du it, this kind of sounds Iike i’m describing becoming année adult, right?

Anyway, you’re in luck: there’s a verb that covers most ns your obligation-related needs (including as soon as you’re talk about comment much de something tu owe someone): devoir.

As its really serious definitions suggest, devoir is not thé most interesting français verb, and it’s not thé easiest à use, either — although that last point will comprendre better. Regardless de its lack de fun, though, devoir is a really significativement verb to know. So, we must speak about how to use it.

Table du Contents
comment to conjugate pour avoir
quel does pour avoir mean?
Making devrait negative
covenant with pour avoir
thé imperative type of pour avoir
what does se pour avoir mean ?
Devoir as a noun
Some expressions with pour avoir

How to conjugate devoir

Like most verbs the are offered a lot, devoir is an irregular verb, which means you’ll have to memorize its assorted conjugations.

Here’s how to conjugate the most common tenses de devoir:

PresentPassé composéImparfaitFuture
Je doisJ’ai dûJe devaisJe devrai
Tu doisTu ont dûTu devaisTu devras
Il/elle/on doitIl/elle/on a dûIl/elle/on devaitIl/elle/on devra
Nous devonsNous avons dûNous devionsNous devrons
Vous devezVous oui dûVous deviezVous devrez
Ils/elles doiventIls/elles oui dûIls/elles devaientIls/elles devront
Je devraisQue je doive
Tu devraisQue personnes doives
Il/elle/on devraitQu’il/elle/on doive
Nous devrionsQue conditions météorologiques devions
Vous devriezQue tu deviez
Ils/elles devraientQu’ils/elles doivent

Conjugation is année important place to start with any verb, but especially when handling devoir, since ce strongly affecter the verb’s an interpretation (when devoir = must). While it’s fresh nous our minds, i’m going à skip some other considérable devoir details à la now, and pick them increase a little later. Si you want to aller to castle directly, amie can use thé links in auto Table ns Contents above.

What does devrait mean?


Devoir is a word it is tied venir obligation and duty. From the springs two henchmen meanings: “must” and “to owe.” 

Let’s look at comment to use devoir in each ns these ways. 

Devoir = must

There space a couple of subtly different nuances to this meaning of devoir:

1. Année obligation jaune suggestion 

Devoir can be offered to montrer that someone must do something (Il doit arroser les plantes leur fois par semaine. (He must water the plants two fois a week.)). But cette can likewise be used to suggest something venir someone – or to oneself. Pour example, virtually every day ns tell myself, Je ne devrais pas manger un autre biscuit. (I shouldn’t eat un autre cookie.). 

The difference in between obligation and suggestion, ont well ont the degree du each, depends quel tense of devoir you use. 

That’s no something that will certainly come normally at first, cible over temps you’ll volonté it. Ns can promise that today i use these different tenses to montré obligation fairly easily. 

One thing that yes, really helped moi when ns started making use of devoir was thé basic idea that as soon as devoir is conjugated in année indicative sense (present, previous future, imperfect…), it means “must” (or a past or future tense tantamount like “had to”, “will have to”, etc.). Once devoir is conjugated in a conditional it s too dirty (conditional, past conditional), ce means “should” or a past identical (“should have”). 

Je dois achat un cadeau pour Jean.

I must buy a gift parce que le Jean/I oui to to buy a gift à la Jean.


Je devrais achat un cadeau pour Jean.

I should buy a gift pour Jean.

You can see an ext examples de this in this helpful article (start at the formulation “And now venir our magic verb…”). 

Now the you have that down, here are basic translations du devoir in auto tenses you’ll most commonly see cette used with.

présent (present tense): must/need to/have to 

Tu dois verrouiller la porte, sinon das vélociraptors entreront.

You must lock thé door, otherwise thé velociraptors will get in.

passé composé (past tense): had to/was causing obligation to. ALSO : must have.

There isn’t a way à differentiate between these two le concept in French, except parce que le the context. Laissez-nous look at année example ns each:

a. Comme jai oublié du verrouiller la porte, j’ai dû combattre les vélociraptors. (Since i forgot venir lock thé door, ns had à fight the velociraptors.) 

b. Si je ne moi trompe pas, bénéficie il a oublié ns verrouiller ns porte, il a dû en quittant entrer esquive vélociraptors. (If I’m no mistaken, since hey forgot venir lock the door, hey must oui let in thé vélociraptors.)

Imparfait (imperfect): had actually to/was supposed to 

Tant pis convoque lui, il savait qu’il besoin de verrouiller ns porte.

Too bad for him, he knew hey had à lock thé door.

futur simple (future): will oui to. 

Tu es gravement blessé, mais au moins tu oui survécu ! tu devras verrouiller la porte la prochaine fois.

You’re serious injured but at least tu survived! tu will oui to lock auto door prochain time.

conditionnel (conditional): should

Oui, s’il y a d’un prochaine fois, nom de fille me dirai, « Tiens, j’entends esquive vélociraptors – nom de fille devrais verrouiller la porte ! »

Yes, si there’s a prochain time, ok say venir myself, “Listen! i hear the velociraptors – je should lock the door!”

conditionnel du passé (past conditional): have to have 

J’aurais de verrouiller ns porte.

I should ont locked thé door.


Of course, even if a strong word choose “must” is used, cette can likewise be année exaggeration. For example, tu could hear who say, Tu dois lire cette livre! (You need to read this book!) simply à show comment much castle loved auto book et think it’s worth reading. However, this is less common in French, because the français don’t tendu to exaggerate oui much as anglophones (especially mien fellow Americans) do.

There are two différent ways devoir can it is in used à signify an obligation:

2. Something the is/was bound venir happen jaune probably happened

This is like thé English “must” or “must have”.

Here are some examples: 

Cela besoin de se passer profitez-en ça.

This must occur like this.

Ça ne devait étape se passer comme ça.

That no supposed to happen this way.

La victimes a ns essayer de s’échapper moyennant l’escalier.

The victim must ont tried à escape de the stairway.

3. Something that’s assumed (must be)

Here room some examples: 

Tu devrais matin ravie!

You must be haricot de soja happy !

Oh da là, Charles und Morgane ont tort une fenêtre hier soir ! leurs parents doivent être hyper fachés !

Oh no, Charles et Morgane damaged a window last night! Their parents must be merveilleux upset!

Ça devrait marcher.

This need to work.

Vous avez vu Claudine ? d’elles devait un m ici à 19h.

Have amie seen Claudine ? she was supposed à be below at 7pm.

Ça ne aller à pas être long.

This wasn’t supposed à take a longue time.

Ta voiture orient encore en panne ? personnes dois am contente.

Your car broke down again? elle must be happy.

That last instance is a usual sarcastic comment? ou quoi a français person would certainly make.

And now parce que le devoir’s second main meaning:

Devoir = à owe 


This is frequently used v money, but it deserve to be anything you could owe someone, including abstract concepts like gratitude, etc. 

Here space some examples:

Il me doit 5 euros.

He owes je 5 euros)

Je lui dois tout mien succès.

I owe him tous of my success.)

Unlike once devoir’s an interpretation is bound to an obligation or suggestion, in the des boites of devoir as “to owe”, the translation of each it is too dirty is much more literal. Thé present it s too dirty simply way “owe”/”owes”, thé past it s too dirty “owed”, auto conditional “would owe,” and so on.

Voir plus: La Petite Maison Dans La Prairie Saison 1 Episode 17, Saison 1 De La Petite Maison Dans La Prairie

Making devoir negative

Making devoir negative is relatively intuitive, and, ont you’ll discover in the prochain paragraph, knowing comment to do it will expand your complex french vocabulary!

Making devoir (must) negative

Now the you know these miscellaneous meanings du devoir as related à obligation, amie also know how to to speak “must not”, “should not”, etc., in French!

Just carré the ne…pas around the form of devoir and ajouter the seconde verb in its infinitive after pas. for example: Les vélociraptors disent que personnes ne devrais étape verrouiller la porte. (The velociraptors speak that amie shouldn’t lock thé door.)

You can additionally use ne…jamais and other formulas of negation as well, favor so: En fait, esquive vélociraptors précisent que personnes ne ont jamais verrouiller ns porte. (In fact, auto velociraptors want venir make cette very clear that amie must never lock thé door.)

Making devoir (to owe) negative

When ce means “to owe”, thé negative form of devoir is often ne…rien. Marqué of course, you can use ce with ne…pas and other forms de negation, depending nous the context. 

Here room some examples:

Tu née lui oui rien ! (You don’t owe him anything!)

Tiens, Paul, tu ne moi devais étape vingt euros ? (Wait a minute, Paul. Don’t amie owe je twenty euros ?)

Although this meaning of devoir is less abstract, cette can be a précis tricky since, as these instances show, cette often entails object pronouns. This is a guide if you need to review those. 

Those four interpretations are the most typical ways you’ll watch devoir used in french today. But there room a few more subtle jaune unusual usages, oui well. Si you’d like to discover those, inspect out this very thorough list. 

Agreement through devoir


Now that we’ve discover devoir’s meanings et how each tense can transform them in part cases, let’s talk around some grammar-related specifics.

All rarely often, rarely verbs oui their quirks, but devoir is, fittingly, a peu more uptight than most. 

For une thing, devoir’s previous participle comes with a circumflex interval (accent circonflexe): .

This is venir differentiate ce from the article du (“of/some” à la masculine nouns), back I’m no really certain that there room a beaucoup of situations where ce would be easy to confuse thé two in the tons place. 

Okay, so just remember to add the accent to the past participle ns devoir, right?Well, not always….

For devoir:

– the past participle is when you’re agreeing ce with a masculine, singular word. for example, Son retard orient dû jusqu’à son formidable cassé. (His lateness is périmé to his broken alarm clock.)

– but if auto word is feminine, tu drop auto accent circonflexe and add an “e” at the end, making it due. Example: Sa fatigue orient due à son insomnie. (Her exhaustion is due to sa insomnia.)

– si the word is woman plural, you remove the accent circonflexe and add an “s”, making ce dus. for example: Tous le financement sont dus prédécesseur la livraison. (All fees need to be paid antérieur à delivery.)

– et if auto word is feminine plural, thé accent circonflexe is eliminated and année “e” et “s” space added, do dues. pour example: Les périodes de calme à lintérieur le magasin sont dues du rythmes des habitants du quartier; nom de famille rentrent déjeuner, ils se couchent tôt les soir. (The periods du calm in the boutique are due to auto rhythm ns the toutes les personnes in auto neighborhood.; they marche home à la lunch, they aller to bed early on at night.).

So, essentially, when isn’t editing and enhancing a singular masculine pronoun, cette takes la fin its hat et puts on an “e” or année “s” or année “-es” instead.

The command form of devoir

…doesn’t exist!

When tu think about it, this renders perfect sense, since the verb itself implies some kind du obligation.

Une chose de moins jusqu’à mémoriser ? tu devez matin contents ! (One much less thing à memorize? elle must it is in happy!)

What does se devoir mean ?

As elle learn à use devoir, you peut être see or come throughout it ont a reflex verb.

Se devoir means “must/have to/have a devoir to aller something”.

For example: Je je dois ns vous parlant que em suis accro de biscuits. (I must parlez you that I matin addicted venir cookies.)

Notice that se devoir  is always followed passant par de.

But, je me dois aux vous dire que, ns nos jours, « se devoir » non pas très courant. In tous the year I’ve lived in France and read, watched, and heard French, I’ve seldom come throughout this kind of phrasing. In mien experience, it’s reasonably rare and formal. 

And si you oui trouble with it, the good news is that, in most cases, tu can simply replace cette with devoir. So, that sentence ns wrote in auto last i could likewise be written: Je ont vous dire que, de nos jours, « se devoir» non pas carrément courant.

According venir this rechercher thread, se devoir have the right to be used venir convey a very strong sense de duty.So you may choose à use it if you’re make a speech jaune writing fiction (or nonfiction) wherein it’s very considérable to express this in a very dramatic, official way. Otherwise, I’d say just recognize it et know that cette exists, but it’s absolutely fine to simply use devoir in your everyday speech and writing.

Devoir as a noun


Devoir also exists as a noun. Le devoir, oui you might have guessed, means “duty”.

If you’re researching or once studied french in a classroom jaune online course setting, there’s un autre noun form of devoir that she probably very familiar with: les devoirs (homework).

Apparently, this can additionally be used oui a singular noun (un devoir), marqué I guess: v most de us that were or are in lécole usually have/had many assignments to take home, unfortunately.

When I first heard the word les devoirs , thé seriousness de the expressions hit me. Auto English identical is merely descriptive: it’s work you do at home. Cible devoirs implies that that your devoir to faire it. Elle MUST aller it.

To me, this goes an extremely well v the french attitude towards school and learning. Although je was surprised venir find that france isn’t ranked among the top ten nations when it comes à scholastic achievement, lécole here is taken very seriously. Even mien son’s preschool is really formal around explaining lesson plan to parents, make sure kids are nous time, and taking them the end for récolte field trips. 

This continuellement through children’s scholastic careers. Back there can be amusant moments et activities, teachers and parents make ce very clear the students are at lécole to work-related (and the they oui to occupational at home, too). 

You deserve to see this rigor even in the list du school offers kids have to have with them. In America, we were forced to ont the basics: pencils, notebooks, et so on. In France, over there are certain kinds du notebooks, ink pen with separate corrector pens, rulers used to garantie that even young kids are writing nous a directly line, et so on.

I was constantly impressed et even a précis intimidated when auto kids i taught in français elementary colleges sat under at your desks and pulled out toutes les personnes of your paraphernalia, their visages very serious.

In high school, français kids continuez to occupational hard. The focus is nous le baccalauréat (informally referred to as le bac), the huge, multi-subject final exam that they’ll take over your last deux years of school. In American schools, by contrast, sure, our définitif exam, auto SAT, is de nombreux (as this current cheating scandal the even connected celebrity parents proves), marqué so room high school sports and school dances.

In France, over there are non school sports. Tu can sign up with a team jaune take lessons of some kind, marqué they’re not strongly tied to thé school, and schools don’t host big games. There can be small écoles dances (though no one I’ve ever before heard of), but absolutely nothing with auto level of recadrer importance du homecoming jaune the prom in the US.

Early nous when ns started discovering French, conditions météorologiques were told that the french take lécole seriously, cible work, less so. American are auto opposite: Our lécole years are seen oui important but should also be a happy, drôle time ns our lives, et our experienced careers space supposed à be where nous really buckle down and get serious.

I can’t say this is the caisse for everyone ns know, français or American. But there is some reality to cette in general, at the very least from quel I’ve experienced. You only oui to look at at comment Americans generally only volonté two weeks du paid vacation a year, as opposed to the French, who get a minimum of 5 weeks, reconnaissance sick/personal days. Or how many Americans will take a rapid lunch at their desk, while most french people would be appalled si they didn’t volonté at least année hour to aller eat and relax a little.

This isn’t à say the Americans are bad students or french people are lazy workers, because neither une is true. In this study, parce que le example, auto US actually placed higher than la france on overall academic scores. And France is among thé world’s leading economies. It’s an ext about thé way auto overall culture seem venir perceive school and work life. 

I page to compare France to mien native country, because I’m familiar with both, marqué of course, there room comparisons you could draw between France and other countries and cultures, oui well. Pour example, Benjamin told moi about this delightful videoby comedian paul Taylor, a Brit who stays in France et shares his recadrer observations on french cable channel canaliser + (and in divers venues).

I’m familiar with Paul’s videos on sapin in France, marqué in this one, cette travels venir Germany, where he finds that though thé Germans aller tend venir follow rules much more than thé French, their institutions are much an ext relaxed than french schools. The whole video is great, cible if you seul want venir watch the part about schools, start at thé 7:30 minute mark.

If you’re from somewhere est différent than the US jaune Germany (or if you proficient something different cultivation up in either place), I’d love to hear how you think the français school system compares with the une you sait – feeling free venir leave a comment!

Some expression with devoir


Although this verb is generally used nous its own, there room some phrases et expressions through devoir that you’ll regularly come across:

l’appel ns devoir – the appel of duty. despite this phrase’s existence, gamers, take note : french people just appel the game appel of Duty.

le sens du devoir – the sense ns duty. A sense of moral obligation.

le devoir ns mémoire – the devoir of remembrance. that is, thé idea that nous must psychic and/or le respect different historical events/people.

Il aller à y de – There must be. Example : Regarde-moi tout ce monde ! Il doit y de des chiffon de personnes ici ! (Look at this crowd ! There have to be thousands ns people here !) 

devoir d’un fière chandelle à quelqu’un – venir be forever grateful à someone. parce que le example: Je dois une fière chandelle à ma prof ns français venir lycée – eux m’a a appris beaucoup de choses. (I owe a debt of gratitude to mien high school français teacher – she taught moi so numerous things.) Or: Il a entier fait convoque promouvoir accent album – les gars lui dois une fière chandelle! (He’s excellent everything à promote your album – you should it is in forever grateful à him!). 

As this la source explains (with a very drôle example), auto origin du this expression, which literally way “to owe a proud candle to someone” is found in Catholic tradition. As soon as a human being felt spared jaune saved de God or a saint, they would certainly light a gros candle in thanks. (fier meant “large, important”). Today, the expressions isn’t religious and can it is in used by anyone. That said, that not thé most common expressions in France.

Voir plus: L Amour Est Dans Le Pré Portrait 2019

Is discovering more expression with devoir a “must” parce que le you? you can find added ones here.

So, currently I’ve done ma duty et told you tous about devoir. What do you think around this verb, et about her relationship to learning French? do you feeling duty-bound to always faire les devoirs