Difference Between Voir and Regarder : French Verbs

french verbs voir regarder

The verbs we examine this time both have the same meaning, but with some obvious differences. They differ in much the same way as to “look” and “see” do in English. We are taking a look at the verbs regarder and voir.

How exactly do they differ? The difference is actually very simple. Visible is passive, whereas observable is active.


Voir – to see, view, witness, understand

This irregular verb requires careful study in the present, perfect, and future tenses.

However, you can learn it along with similar verbs like dormir, mentir, and partir, which have similar endings.

We’ll take a look at the conjugation of the verb voir in the Present Simple tense.

  1. Je vois                             1. Nous voyons
  2. Tu vois                            2. Vous voyez
  3. Il/Elle/ On voit             3. Ils/Elles voient

When to Use Voir

Voir quelque chose/quelqu’un + infinitive – to see, understand something/someone, to see something/someone

  • Tu vois cette fille là-bas ? C’est notre nouvelle collègue.
  • Do you see that girl over there? She’s our new colleague.
  • J’espère le voir quand il viendra en France.
  • l hope to see him when he comes to France.
  • Tu dois aller voir un médecin.
  • You should go see a doctor.

Voir à + infinitive – to make sure

  • Il faudrait voir à respecter la limite de vitesse.
  • You should obey the speed limit.
  • Voyez à ne pas arriver en retard.

Aller voir– to go (and) see

  • Tu devrais aller voir un film. – You should go see a movie.
  • Va voir si elle est prête. – Go and see if she’s ready.

Faire voir – to show

  • Fais-moi voir tes devoirs. – Let me see / Show me your homework.
  • Fais voir! – Let me see! Show me!

Voir venir – to see something/someone coming (informal and figurative)

  • Je te vois venir. – I see where you’re going with this.
  • Mais c’est trop cher! On t’a vu venir! – But that’s too expensive! They saw you coming!


The French verb regarder is regular and therefore easy to learn.

Regarder – to look at, to watch, to observe

This verb has a regular conjugation in all tenses. It belongs to the 1. group of regular verbs, finishing in -er.

  1. Je regarde                         1. Nous regardons
  2. Tu regardes                       2. Vous regardez
  3. Il/Elle/On regarde          3. Ils/Elles regardent

When To Use Regarder

Regarder quelque chose/quelqu’un – to look at something/someone, look up something

Est-ce que tu as regardé le spectacle de théâtre ?

Did you watch the theatre spectacle?

Regarder + infinitive – to watch + infinitive

Il a passé une heure à regarder jouer les enfants.

He spent an hour watching the children playing.

To face something, to look at something

La façade d’une maison qui regarde la campagne.

The facade of a house looking out over the countryside.

To concern someone, to interest them

Cela me regarde.

That concerns me.

Common Questions with Voir and Regarder

Qu’est ce que tu vois?

What do you see?

Est-ce que tu vois mon livre ?

Do you see my book?

Qu’aimes-tu regarder?

What do you like to watch?

French Idioms With Voir

Avoir quelque chose à voir avec / dans
to have something to do with

C’est quelque chose qui ne se voit pas tous les jours
That’s something you don’t see every day

Déjà vu
already seen

En faire voir de toutes les couleurs à quelqu’un
to give someone a hard time

Se voir en cachette
to meet in secret

Fais voir!
Let me see! / Show me!

Il faut voir.
We’ll have to wait and see

voir la vie en rose
to see life through rose-colored glasses / to look on the bright side of life

Oh, come on now!

Voir, c’est croire.
Seeing is believing.

To sum all up

Many other verbs raise similar doubts like voir and regarder. It’s the case with verbs like écouter and entendre.

Once you understand what’s the difference between voir and regarder you are on the good track to understanding all kinds of similar verbs. These two words are among the most frequent words in French. You do yourself a favor by learning to use common words from the early start.

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