The Cuthbertson French Verb Wheel

We recently moved, and I've gone through most of the boxes we had in storage and retrieved some strange treasures. Because I want to improve my French this year, I was happy to find my Cuthbertson French Verb Wheel.

Now I can still read French well enough to read newspapers and easy stories, but I've never spoken it anything but badly. Speaking better French may not be a reasonable goal; improving my ability to read and write the language is. I stumble on recognizing French verb tenses, so I'm using the Cuthbertson French Verb Wheel to review my conjugations.

The wheel is

simple. For irregular verbs, turn a pointer on the circumference of the wheel to line up with the infinitive written on the card, and the holes in the wheel expose the stems to use for conjugating various tenses. The endings for each tense are printed on the card by the holes. For regular verbs, the table below the title explains how to conjugate the verb from the principle parts. The wheel offers no help
with compound tenses; but a reasonably well-informed student can work them out, for the wheel conjugates the irregular verbs être and avoir.

A couple days practice with the wheel has proved to me that I do recall the conjugations of être and avoir quite well, but I have trouble with regular verbs. The existence of the imperfect conditional tense, I found, had completely slipped my memory. Practice, practice.

I purchased my wheel in 1969. It was published by the D.C. Heath Company. An edition of the wheel published by Heinle is available on Amazon, but purchasers complain about the legibility of the small print on the wheel and the flimsiness of the cardstock on which the wheel is printed. To be honest, my old fashioned wheel is printed on cheap cardstock and the small print is blurred. I suspect the new version is no worse than the old.  

Article Written By marqjonz

marqjonz is a blogger at

Last updated on 18-07-2016 268 0

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