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,
Thanks Tom. Too complicated for my little brain - but now I know it's not just about prepositions - progress! :)
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.
I had to read that a few times but (I think) I now get it. Thanks!
Hi Chris,This was one of the best explanations of transitive vs. intransitive verbs I've read.
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