Hi, seems like the verb tomber most definitely belongs to the set of verbs which can take either auxiliary in the passé composé, depending on their transitive/intransitive usage.
As an example of such a verb, see your very helpful page here:
Monter can be used with avoir or être in Le Passé Composé depending on its meaning in French
Could you please confirm that tomber indeed deserves such a page, and in general remark on whether about 20 other verbs deserve one also (albeit not very commonly used ones?)
Chris, your last 2 examples would be said ‘ J’ai laissé tomber qqc … ‘ or ‘ il a laissé tomber qqc‘ ( laisser tomber qqc ) not ‘J’ai or il a tombé .. qqc ‘
There are limited expressions, mostly informal, some even lower register than ‘informal’ (beware), in which tomber takes a direct object and is conjugated with avoir in compound tenses.
I don’t think these limited exceptions warrant a separate lesson, although perhaps a brief note that they exist may be reasonable.
The verb tomber uses the auxiliary verb être in the passé composé when it is used intransitively, indicating a change of state or movement. However, when tomber is used transitively with a direct object, it uses avoir. As a general rule: every transitive verb, i.e., one that has a direct object, uses avoir as an auxiliary.
Here are examples of both cases:
Intransitive (with "être" as auxiliary):
Les feuilles sont tombées des arbres. (The leaves fell from the trees.
Transitive (with "avoir" as auxiliary and "laisser tomber" as the more idiomatic usage of "to drop"):
J'ai laissé tomber la boîte par terre. -- I dropped the box on the ground. (la boite is COD)Il a laissé tomber son stylo. -- He dropped his pen. (son stylo is COD)
@Maarten: Yes, you're right. I edited my answer slightly.
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