Welcome back to our French word of the week blog – it’s time for another verb. Today we’re looking at arriver.
You can hear the correct pronunciation of arriver by listening to the audio clip below:
You might feel like you already recognise this word and could guess the translation, because we have a very similar word in English. While assuming translations based off English similarities can sometimes be a risky move when learning French, this time you’re in luck! Its main translation is indeed to arrive.
Arriver follows a regular -er conjugation pattern. It might be a good idea to remind yourself of the rules on our Easy Learning French Grammar pages about regular conjugation of -er verbs in the present tense as well as the present subjunctive and imperfect tense. However, one irregularity is that arriver takes être as an auxiliary verb.
Now you know some more details, we can study a few examples of arriver in use:
Après avoir raté le train, nous sommes arrivés en retard. After having missed the train, we arrived late.
« Il faut partir, tu es prêt ? » « Oui, j’arrive ! » “We need to leave, are you ready?” “Yes, I’m coming!”
arriver à to reach; to manage; to arrive at
On arrivera au musée à dix-sept heures. We will arrive at the gallery at 5 o’clock.
Je ne sais pas comment elle est arrivée à finir si tôt. I don’t know how she managed to finish so early.
Je n’arrive pas à comprendre son explication. I cannot understand his explanation.
À cause du réchauffement climatique, des périodes de difficulté arrivent. Difficult times are coming because of global warming.
Now, you didn’t think there would just be one meaning, did you? Arriver has another quite different, but equally common, translation in everyday French. As well as to arrive, it also means to happen.
Il peut arriver que… It’s possible that…
Il peut arriver qu’elle ne vienne pas. She might not show up.
Qu’est-ce qui t’est arrivé hier soir ? What happened to you last night?
Ce genre de problème n’arrive pas très souvent. This type of problem doesn’t occur very often.
Whatever happens with your French learning, you can count on our weekly word blogs to keep you up to scratch. Make sure you practise and write down what you’ve learned – you’ll manage to reach a high level of French comprehension!
Written by Holly Tarbet, freelance copywriter and editor.
All opinions expressed on this blog are those of the individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or policies of Collins, or its parent company, HarperCollins.