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The French Verb Faillir


Today’s French lesson is all about the French verb FAILLIR. Faillir doesn’t really have an exact translation in English, at least not as a verb. In French, faillir means “To almost do something.” It’s always followed by an infinitive verb and primarily conjugated in the passé composé with avoir. Let’s learn everything about it!

Faillir means “To almost do something”. And here it would be “almost”.

Where to Place Faillir in a Sentence?

The verb faillir is actually very easy to use, for two reasons. The first one is because the grammar, the sentence structure around the verb doesn’t change much. You will find Faillir in this structure:

Faillir + infinitive verb

There is no preposition in there. Nothing. It’s very easy.

Conjugation of Faillir

The second point why it’s easy to use is that it’s usually conjugated in the passé composé. It’s a verb conjugated with avoir. Let’s do a quick review of the conjugation:

Faillir – Passé composé

J’ai failli
Tu as failli
Il – Elle – On a failli
Nous avons failli
Vous avez failli
Ils – Elles ont failli

Examples with Faillir

1. J’ai failli rater mon train ce matin.
I almost missed my train this morning.

2. Tu as failli tomber de l’échelle.
You almost fell off the ladder.

3. Il a failli oublier ton cadeau.
He almost forgot your gift.

4. Elle a failli perdre son portefeuille.
She almost lost her wallet.

5. On a failli arriver en retard.
We almost arrived late.

6. Nous avons failli acheter la mauvaise couleur.
We almost bought the wrong color.

7. Vous avez failli vous perdre.
You almost got lost.

8. Ils ont failli pleurer lors de la cérémonie.
They almost cried during the ceremony.

9. Elles ont failli gagner mais l’autre équipe était trop forte.
They almost won, but the other team was too strong.

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    About Dylane

    Dylane is the owner & founder of “The perfect French with Dylane”, a YouTube channel and website where she teaches students from all around the world all the aspects of the French language.

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