Why is it "Quand je SUIS sorti hier soir, il faisait très froid." The lesson says that we use AVOIR when the verb isn't followed by a preposition...

PeterC1Kwiziq community member

Why is it "Quand je SUIS sorti hier soir, il faisait très froid." The lesson says that we use AVOIR when the verb isn't followed by a preposition...

Asked 1 year ago
TomC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Hi Peter.

In this case SORTIR is beng used intransitively, i.e. there is no direct object involved (no noun directly follows "je suis sorti". "hier soir" is an adverbial expression placing the verb in a temporal context and could be removed without fundamentally changing the sense of the sentence.

Hope this helps,

Tom

PeterC1Kwiziq community member

Thanks Tom. Too complicated for my little brain - but now I know it's not just about prepositions - progress! :)

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Transitive verbs are those that act directly on some object (the "direct object"). For example: I eat an apple. "Apple" is the direct object of the verb "eat".

Intransitive verbs don't act on a direct object. For example: I slept well tonight. The verb "sleep" doesn't use a direct object, it doesn't act on anything. Some intransitive verbs may have an indirect object, though: I am listening to a CD. The indirect object "a CD" is not being acted upon by listening (i.e., you dont "listen a CD"). Often you recognize indirect objects by a preceding preposition.

So much for a quick review of the concept. Now back to French.

Je sors. -- I go out. There is no object at all, it is an intransitive verb and the past tense is formed using être instead of avoir: je suis sorti.

But sortir can also be used in a transitive manner in French. For example:Je sors la poubelle. -- I take out the trashbin. "La poubelle" being the direct object, the verb sortir is being used transitively. Hence the past tense is formed with avoir: j'ai sorti la poubelle.

PeterC1Kwiziq community member

Hi Chris

I had to read that a few times but (I think) I now get it. Thanks!

P

ThaliaC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Hi Chris,

This was one of the best explanations of transitive vs. intransitive verbs I've read.

Why is it "Quand je SUIS sorti hier soir, il faisait très froid." The lesson says that we use AVOIR when the verb isn't followed by a preposition...

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