Using “Venir De” in French Conversation

You may already know the French verb Venir, which means “to come”. But, have you encountered its trickier neighbour, “Venir de”? We’ll explore its different meanings in today’s lesson, and I’ll show you how to use it in everyday French conversation.

In the comments for a previous lesson, a long-time viewer asked me to talk about “Venir de”. This construction (with the irregular verb Venir) has two different meanings – both of which are very effective in helping you improve your oral comprehension.

Once you learn how to use this verb, it will come up very often in everyday conversation. And you’ll free yourself from the tyranny of the French passé composé.

C’est parti.

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1. Venir de = coming from

In French,

  • Venir = “to come”
  • Venir de (+ location) = “to come from” [that location]

You can use it to describe where you’re from, or where you’ve just been. The meaning of “location” here is quite large.

For example:

  • Je viens des États-Unis. = I come from the US. → You probably know that sentence already, with your own country!
  • Je viens de Grenoble. = I come from Grenoble.
  • Je viens de la cuisine. = I come from the kitchen.
  • Je viens de chez le coiffeur. = I come from the hairdresser.
  • Je viens de loin. = I come from far away. → “On revient de loin” (= to come back from far behind) also means “making a spectacular recovery.”

(As you can see, in the present, “I come / I’m coming” is “Je viens.Venir is irregular, as we’ll explore below.)

2. Venir de = Just did something

Venir de” also means something else entirely:
Je viens de [+ verbe]” = “I’ve just [done something].”

You can use it to talk about the immediate past in French. It’s like a whole new tense – and much easier than the other past tenses in French.

For example:

  • Je viens de voir ton message ! = I’ve just seen your message!
  • Je viens de me faire couper les cheveux. = I’ve just had my hair cut.
  • Mais tu viens de manger ! = But you just ate!
  • Tu viens de rater tes parents, ils viennent de passer à la télé ! = You just missed your parents, they were on TV a minute ago!

Did you notice? Venir is an irregular verb.

3. Conjugation of Venir in the present (and the imperative)

The conjugation for the three singular subjects all sound the same, when spoken (the final “s” and “t” are silent.)

You can often find this verb in the imperative too:

  • Viens ! (for “tu”)
  • Venons ! (for “nous” – rarely used)
  • Venez ! (for “vous”)

** Le truc en plus **

Ils viennent sounds like:
Vienne, the capital of Austria
La Vienne, a river and a department in France
– The subjunctive of Venir also sounds like [vienne] for “ils” and the singular subjects.

4. Practice

“Je viens de par là !” → “I come from that way.”

Tu viens de prendre une douche !” → “You’ve just taken a shower!”

“I come from the bakery.” → Je viens de la boulangerie.

“I just bought some bread.” → Je viens d’acheter du pain.

Learn more about venir, its close (but not quite 100% synonym) friend arriver (= to arrive), and more French grammar tricks with:

Click on one of the links above to get your next lesson with me, and I’ll see you in the next video!

À tout de suite.

And now:

→ If you enjoyed this lesson (and/or learned something new) – why not share this lesson with a francophile friend? You can talk about it afterwards! You’ll learn much more if you have social support from your friends 🙂

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Join the conversation!

    • Hi Kathy!

      Non, c’est faux 🙂

      C’est le “passé simple” qui est démodé. On l’utilise seulement à l’écrit, dans les livres et les romans.

      Le passé composé, c’est ce qu’on utilise dans la vie de tous les jours.

      Très bonne journée,

      – Arthur, writer for Comme une Française

    • Bonjour Anne !

      Merci beaucoup.
      C’est super 🙂

      Très bonne journée,

      – Arthur, writer for Comme une Française

  • I love the new additions to this video – a lot more opportunities to practice oral comprehension and some real time application. Thank you! Also, would you consider creating a Spotify playlist of good, current French music to listen to to help with oral comprehension? Thanks, Geraldine! You’re awesome.

  • I find that if I put my cursor near the bottom of the screen to display the timeline of the video, and then click at the point where the video stopped, it starts up again. I hope this helps.

  • Bonjour Géraldine ! Pardon, mais j’ai une question qui n’a rien à voir avec la leçon. Je vais acheter un microphone et je me demande si le tien est un Blue Yeti. La marque m’intéresse.

  • Thank you for a very useful lesson. I like it because it is useful, practical and short. Please give us more lessons like this concentrating on everyday verbs. I noticed ‘Comme une francaise ‘ has been upgraded and we can not open now. When do you expect it would be available so that I can go back to lessons. Thank you. Midori

    • Hi Midori!

      Is the problem solved now? Can you try on another lesson to see if it works?

      Have a great day,

      – Arthur, writer for Comme une Française

    • Bonjour Anita!

      Réponse courte : Non, c’est parce que ‘le coiffeur” (= the hairdresser) est une personne. “Chez + [someone]” = “At someone’s.” –> Chez Antoine = At Antoine’s / At Antoine’s place.

      Réponse longue :
      On dit “À la boulangerie / Au supermarché” parce que “‘boulangerie” (= bakery) et “supermarché” (supermarket) sont des endroits.
      Mais on peut aussi dire “Chez le boulanger / Chez le boucher” par exemple (= at the baker’s, at the butcher’s).
      Il n’y a pas vraiment de nom pour la boutique du coiffeur.
      Donc on doit dire “Chez le coiffeur”, il n’y pas d’équivalent au lieu “à la boulangerie” pour les coiffeur. (Techniquement, peut-être “à la maison de coiffure” mais personne ne l’utilise.)

      Mais surtout, c’est devenu un cliché facile : dire “au coiffeur” (plutôt que “chez le coiffeur”) est le signe que quelqu’un a peu d’instruction.

      Bonne journée !

      – Arthur, writer for Comme une Française

  • C’est absolument claire à comprendre ce que vous avez expliqué.
    Je vous suis depuis longtemps et j’ai déjà amélioré mon français mais il faut que j’améliore mon oral bientôt, du coup, pourriez-vous m’aider comment je l’améliore svp?
    Merci beaucoup Madame.

    • Bonjour anip,

      C’est compliqué d’améliorer son oral rapidement.
      Il faut répéter les phrases que tu entends en français, parler beaucoup, faire beaucoup d’erreurs, et écouter des gens qui parlent français en notant ce qu’ils disent.

      Tu peux regarder nos leçons “Understanding Spoken French” pour commencer !

      Bonne journée,

      – Arthur, writer for Comme une Française

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