Devoir is a useful French verb from the 3rd group.
How to conjugate and pronounce devoir in the present tense?
Here is the conjugation of the verb devoir in the French present tense with its pronunciation.
What does devoir mean in French? When is it used?
First, it is important to notice that devoir can be a masculine noun or a transitive verb. Here, we only intend to deal with the use of the transitive verb.
You need to keep in mind that the verb devoir has several meanings:
1) some kind of indebtement: to owe somebody something
Combien est-ce que je vous dois ? = How much do I owe you?
Je lui dois 10 euros. = I owe her/him 10 euros.
Je lui dois bien cela. = I owe him that much.
Il lui doit beaucoup. = He owes her/him a lot.
2) some obligation: must, to have to do something
Il doit partir tout de suite. = He has to leave right away./ He must leave right away.
Vous devez travailler pour réussir. = You must work to succeed. / You have to work to succeed.
3) some probability: must, to be probable
Elle doit être en retard. = She must be late. / She’s probably late.
Ils ont beaucoup travaillé, donc ils doivent être fatigués. = They’ve been working a lot, so they must be tired.
4) some expectation or intention: to be expected to, to be supposed to, to be due to
Il doit venir demain. = He’s supposed to come tomorrow.
Elle doit revenir dans 5 minutes. = She’s expected to be back in 5 minutes. / She’s due back in 5 minutes.
5) fatalism: to be bound to happen
Tout le monde doit mourir un jour. = Everybody has to die someday. / Everybody is bound to die someday.
Si cela doit arriver un jour, cela arrivera. = If it’s bound to happen, it will happen.
Useful expressions to know with devoir
Here are some other French expressions with devoir that are commonly used in French:
devoir une fière chandelle = to owe a great deal, to owe a debt of gratitude
ne rien devoir à personne = to owe nothing to anyone
Now test yourself with a quiz on the conjugation of devoir in the present tense!
Quiz on the present tense conjugation of devoir