Questions on ‘partir, sortir, quitter’ which comprise one, some or all answers are so inconsistent, I find it very irritating. Sometimes when I choose all three (excluding ‘laisser’ of course), only ‘partir’ is the answer deemed acceptable. sometimes, when I select ‘partir’ only, all three are given as correct. More context please.
I agree that this is a particularly tricky grammar point.
One way to eliminate options is to look at what follows the verbs: partir is an intransitive verb (can't have a direct/indirect object), whereas quitter and laisser are always transitive verbs (i.e. have a direct object) and sortir can be either.
So, to come back to "they are leaving soon", there is no direct object present but an adverb "soon" (= bientôt). Therefore, of all the options, only "partir" and "sortir" are possible. But, when "sortir" is used on its own, it actually means to go/come out (unless it is used with "de" + [place] - in which case it implies "leaving somewhere"/"coming out of a place"). Therefore, here, only "partir" is possible.
I hope this is helpful.
Bonne journée !
This is in response to the question ‘Are they leaving soon?’
Sign in to submit your answer
Don't have an account yet? Join today
Test your French to the CEFR standard