Partir, laisser, quitter, sortir = To leave

In French, depending on context you will use one of these four verbs to express to leavepartirlaisserquitter  or sortir.

Look at these sentences:

Je suis parti tôt ce soir.
I left early tonight.

Elle part tous les jours à six heures.
She leaves every day at six.

Vous êtes sortis de la pièce avant nous.
You came out of the room before us.  
(You left the room before us.)

Nous sortons juste du métro.
We're just coming out of the metro.
(We're just leaving the metro.)

Il a quitté son travail.
He quit his job.

Elle quitte Patrick pour quelqu'un d'autre.
She's leaving Patrick for someone else.

Nous avons laissé les passeports dans la voiture !
We left the passports in the car!

Tu laisses la porte ouverte tous les soirs.
You leave the door open every evening.

 

Note the following distinctions:

- partir means to leave / to go away. You can use it on its own (e.g. I leave = Je pars).
When used with a place, it will always be followed by a preposition (e.g. I leave from / for  = Je pars de / pour)

Je pars de cette ville.
I'm leaving this town.

 

Special case: 
It's very colloquial to say partir en vacances for to go on holiday:

Cette année, nous partons en vacances en hiver.
This year, we're going (away) on holiday in the winter.

sortir means to go out. When used with de, sortir de + place, it can express the idea of 'leaving', in the sense of coming or going out of a place.

Je sors de la maison.
I'm going out of the house.  
(I'm leaving the house.)

- quitter means to leave some place / somewhere. You cannot use it on its own: it always needs an object, and it can be used for places and people (for example to break up).

Je quitte cette ville pour de bon.
I'm leaving this town for good.

Quitter is also the only one to mean to leave / quit a job or [someone] for good.

 

- laisser means to leave something / to let. You cannot use it on its own. However, this one is NOT used for places, only to leave people or things in places.

Je laisse ma fille à l'école.
I'm leaving my daughter at school.

  

Grammar Jargon:   
partir 
and sortir are intransitive verbs, whereas quitter and laisser are always transitive verbs (i.e. have a direct object).

Examples and resources

Nous allons partir de Paris.
We are going to leave from Paris.


Il a quitté son travail.
He quit his job.


Je vais laisser mes clés sur la table.
I'm going to leave my keys on the table.


Je quitte cette ville pour de bon.
I'm leaving this town for good.


Je sors de la maison.
I'm going out of the house.  
(I'm leaving the house.)


Tu laisses la porte ouverte tous les soirs.
You leave the door open every evening.


Elle part tous les jours à six heures.
She leaves every day at six.


Elle quitte Patrick pour quelqu'un d'autre.
She's leaving Patrick for someone else.


Vous êtes sortis de la pièce avant nous.
You came out of the room before us.  
(You left the room before us.)


Cette année, nous partons en vacances en hiver.
This year, we're going (away) on holiday in the winter.


Je laisse ma fille à l'école.
I'm leaving my daughter at school.


Je suis parti tôt ce soir.
I left early tonight.


Je pars de cette ville.
I'm leaving this town.


Nous avons laissé les passeports dans la voiture !
We left the passports in the car!


Nous sortons juste du métro.
We're just coming out of the metro.
(We're just leaving the metro.)


Q&A Forum 8 questions, 18 answers

LizB2

According to the lesson, they leave work should use partir, not quitter. Why is it quitter?

Asked 2 months ago

Quitter le travail I would translate to mean "leaving the job". There is the ambiguity of quitting the job (as in being unemployed) or just leaving for the day. It seems to be present, to some degree, in French as well.

According to the lesson, they leave work should use partir, not quitter. Why is it quitter?

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LizB2

For I leave early why quitte and not pars, which is what was indicated in the notebook lessons. Please explain?

Asked 2 months ago

For I leave early why quitte and not pars, which is what was indicated in the notebook lessons. Please explain?

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?

I just did a quiz that says “Ils partent leur travail à 19h“ is wrong & “Ils quittent leur travail à 19h” is the correct answer. Can someone please explain why this is so? I can’t see why “partent” is wrong given what the lesson content says. 

Asked 2 months ago
CécileKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Hi Sara,

It would be "Ils partent de leur travail à 19h" or "Ils quittent leur travail à 19 h" .

For 'to leave something' you will normally use the transitive verb 'quitter'

e.g.

Nous quittons le bureau à 17 h tous les jours We leave the office at 5 pm every day

Il a quitté sa femme = He has left his wife

Elle a quitté son pays à l'âge de 18 ans She left her country at the age of 18

If you simply want to say 'to leave' you will use the intransitive verb 'partir'-

Je suis partie très tard ce matin I left very late this morning 

Partons vite! = Let's leave quickly!

You can use 'partir de' in a transitive way to by adding the de + place

Je suis partie de chez moi à l'âge de 16 ans = I left home at 16

The verb 'laisser' is often to 'leave behind'-

Laisse tomber! Let it go!

J'ai laissé mon sac dans le train = I left my bag in the train

Hope this helps!

 

?

I just did a quiz that says “Ils partent leur travail à 19h“ is wrong & “Ils quittent leur travail à 19h” is the correct answer. Can someone please explain why this is so? I can’t see why “partent” is wrong given what the lesson content says. 

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AnnC1

I was about to post this but can see all the discussion about it...so will the test question be corrected? "According to the lesson sortir requires de

Asked 3 months ago

Sortir de means to exit from somewhere. Without the "de" it means to go out.

AnnC1

But my point is that it is wrong then on the test and should be corrected.

I was about to post this but can see all the discussion about it...so will the test question be corrected? "According to the lesson sortir requires de

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GC1

I thought sortir needed to be followed by "de" to express the idea of "leaving".?

The quiz question was:

How would you say "They are leaving soon".

The two correct responses were:

Ils partent bientôt.

Ils sortent bientôt.

I didn't choose the one containing sortent because the "de" was missing and I took it to mean they are going out soon.

Could someone please clarify this.

Asked 4 months ago

You only use "de" with sortir if you want to say where you are exiting from.

Je sors du cinéma. -- I exit the movie theater. (Here you exit from the theater.)Je sors ce soir. -- I go out tonight (no "de", because no need to say where you're going out from)

GC1

What is confusing me is the question was asking how to say "They are leaving soon" (not exiting or going out) and the lesson states that sortir needs "de" to express the idea of "leaving". 

GC1

Thanks for your help Chris but I will have to put this into the “just don’t get it” category. I must be missing something on this one. It happens....

 

One last question before putting it to bed:

The correct translation for – “Ils sortent bientôt” = "They are leaving soon”.

 

Is that correct? 

Yes, that's correct.

Sortir = leaving, going out.Sortir de = leaving or exiting from somewhere

It's a pity there's been no response from a native speaker - I thought G was correct, sortir on its own means to go out, not to leave. 

GC1

I’m glad to know that I’m not the only one who finds the “sortir” part of this lesson a little confusing. I did use the report button initially to get clarification on this point but was redirected here.

Yes, in fact, sortir de is leaving and I miswrote in my previous post. But it is always "leaving from somewhere". You can't say "Je sors de" in French if you want to say "I'm leaving". You'd say "Je m'en vais", for example, or simply "Je pars".

If you are leaving or exiting a particular place, you use sortir de.

I thought sortir needed to be followed by "de" to express the idea of "leaving".?

The quiz question was:

How would you say "They are leaving soon".

The two correct responses were:

Ils partent bientôt.

Ils sortent bientôt.

I didn't choose the one containing sortent because the "de" was missing and I took it to mean they are going out soon.

Could someone please clarify this.

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RodC1

Quitter vs Partir

We were asked to translate “I am leaving my place”. But it is ambiguous in English. E.g. if followed by “for ever” (as in moving out of my apartment), that would be “quitter”. But followed by “so i will see you at the cafe soon” would be “partir”. Shouldn’t the phrase be clarified to avoid ambiguity? 
Asked 10 months ago

You can even say quitter if you leave work for home. 

Je quit le travail à 5 heures et je rentre à la maison. 

Sorry, I hate those pesky typos: Je quitte le travail...
CécileKwiziq language super star

Hi Rod,

As has been said elsewhere in the Q&A in this lesson - 

Quitter and laisser are transitive and have an object unlike ´partir' which doesn't , so the use of the verb will depend on the actual sentence ...

Quitter vs Partir

We were asked to translate “I am leaving my place”. But it is ambiguous in English. E.g. if followed by “for ever” (as in moving out of my apartment), that would be “quitter”. But followed by “so i will see you at the cafe soon” would be “partir”. Shouldn’t the phrase be clarified to avoid ambiguity? 

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Partir vs quitter

I'm a bit unsure about the difference between these two. If you leave the job then it's quitter, but if you leave Paris, perhaps for good but perhaps not are both possible?
Asked 3 years ago
JimC1Correct answer
Partir is an intransitive verb meaning that it does not require a direct object to complete its meaning.
Quitter is a transitive verb meaning that it does require a direct object to complete its meaning.

Partir vs quitter

I'm a bit unsure about the difference between these two. If you leave the job then it's quitter, but if you leave Paris, perhaps for good but perhaps not are both possible?

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Partir Must be followed by a preposition but does Sortir?

It seems as though "sortir" MUST be followed by "de + a place" and never "pour + a place" but the lesson is much less emphatic about "sortir" than "partir." Do the same rules apply? "Sortir is not always instransitive as in your lesson with Sortir + Avoir in the passé composé. Je sors pour Londres or Je sors Londres are not possible. Is that correct?
Asked 3 years ago
LauraKwiziq language super star

Bonjour John,

Both of these French verbs can indicate movement toward and away from a place, and they both need prepositions for these meanings.

Je pars de Londres / Je pars pour Londres = I'm leaving London / I'm leaving for London.

Je sors de Londres / Je sors à Londres = I'm leaving from London / I'm going out in London.

You're correct that Je sors pour Londres and Je sors Londres are not possible, but remember that these verbs can also be used without places, e.g., Je pars à midi, On va sortir ce soir.

TomC1

I believe sortir can also be used transitively as in:

Je sors le chien - I am putting the dog out

Je sors les ordures - I am putting the trash out

Hi, in those examples "Je pars à midi" and "On va sortir ce soir",

is it incorrect to say "Je sors à midi" and "On va partir ce soir"?

Partir Must be followed by a preposition but does Sortir?

It seems as though "sortir" MUST be followed by "de + a place" and never "pour + a place" but the lesson is much less emphatic about "sortir" than "partir." Do the same rules apply? "Sortir is not always instransitive as in your lesson with Sortir + Avoir in the passé composé. Je sors pour Londres or Je sors Londres are not possible. Is that correct?

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