Conjugation of the French Verb “Retenir”

Retenir, a versatile French verb, is an essential component of the French language. Its conjugation can be quite intricate, but understanding how to properly use it is crucial for effective communication. In this article, we will delve into the conjugation of “retenir” in various tenses and moods, allowing you to master this verb with ease.


Present Indicative

The present indicative tense is used to describe actions that are happening right now. Here’s how “retenir” is conjugated in this tense:

– Je retiens (I retain)
– Tu retiens (You retain)
– Il/elle/on retient (He/she/one retains)
– Nous retenons (We retain)
– Vous retenez (You retain)
– Ils/elles retiennent (They retain)


Imperfect Indicative

The imperfect indicative tense is used to describe past actions that were ongoing or habitual. Here’s the conjugation for “retenir” in this tense:

– Je retenais (I was retaining)
– Tu retenais (You were retaining)
– Il/elle/on retenait (He/she/one was retaining)
– Nous retenions (We were retaining)
– Vous reteniez (You were retaining)
– Ils/elles retenaient (They were retaining)


Simple Future Indicative

The simple future tense is used to express actions that will happen in the future. Here’s how “retenir” is conjugated in this tense:

– Je retiendrai (I will retain)
– Tu retiendras (You will retain)
– Il/elle/on retiendra (He/she/one will retain)
– Nous retiendrons (We will retain)
– Vous retiendrez (You will retain)
– Ils/elles retiendront (They will retain)


Conditional Mood

The conditional mood is used to express actions that are dependent on a certain condition. Here’s the conjugation for “retenir” in this mood:

– Je retiendrais (I would retain)
– Tu retiendrais (You would retain)
– Il/elle/on retiendrait (He/she/one would retain)
– Nous retiendrions (We would retain)
– Vous retiendriez (You would retain)
– Ils/elles retiendraient (They would retain)


Subjunctive Mood

The subjunctive mood is used to express doubt, desire, or uncertainty. Here’s how “retenir” is conjugated in this mood:

– Que je retienne (That I retain)
– Que tu retiennes (That you retain)
– Qu’il/elle/on retienne (That he/she/one retains)
– Que nous retenions (That we retain)
– Que vous reteniez (That you retain)
– Qu’ils/elles retiennent (That they retain)


10 example sentences with the word “retenir”

Here are 10 example sentences with the word “retenir” in different grammatical tenses:

  1. Je reçois un cadeau que je veux retenir. (I receive a gift that I want to retain.) – Present Indicative
  2. Elle retenait les informations importantes. (She was retaining the important information.) – Imperfect Indicative
  3. Nous retiendrons cette date pour la réunion. (We will retain this date for the meeting.) – Simple Future Indicative
  4. Si tu voulais, tu pourrais retenir ce secret. (If you wanted, you could retain this secret.) – Conditional Mood
  5. Il est essentiel que nous les retenions pour la soirée. (It’s essential that we retain them for the evening.) – Subjunctive Mood
  6. Elles ne peuvent pas retenir leur excitation. (They cannot retain their excitement.) – Present Indicative
  7. Vous reteniez toujours les meilleures blagues. (You used to retain the best jokes.) – Imperfect Indicative
  8. Je retiendrai ce moment pour le reste de ma vie. (I will retain this moment for the rest of my life.) – Simple Future Indicative
  9. Si nous gagnions, cela serait à retenir. (If we won, that would be worth retaining.) – Conditional Mood
  10. Il faut que tu retiennes cette leçon importante. (You need to retain this important lesson.) – Subjunctive Mood



Mastering the conjugation of the French verb “retenir” is essential for effective communication in the language. Whether you’re expressing actions in the present, past, or future, or dealing with conditional or subjunctive moods, knowing how to properly conjugate “retenir” will greatly enhance your ability to convey your thoughts and ideas in French. Practice these conjugations regularly to become more proficient in using this versatile verb.