For purposes of simplicity, we can define a "verb" as any word which indicates action in a sentence. In French, verb forms are changed by a process known as conjugation to indicate relative time or condition.
All verbs have a tenseless (or timeless) base form called the "infinitive" that can be translated into English as "to" plus the verb. In French, infinitives are easily recognized by their standardized infinitive endings of -er, -ir, or -re.
- parler: to talk
- sortir: to leave
- perdre: to lose
In the examples listed above, the infinitives to talk, to leave, and to lose are "timeless" in that they do not indicate when an action took place, if an action is presently taking place, or whether an action will take place.
Finally, it is important to note that infinitives never need to agree in number (singular or plural) or gender (masculine or feminine) with any other part of the sentence.