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

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.)


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.


Q&A

Jennifer

Kwiziq community member

21 August 2016

1 reply

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?

Jim

Kwiziq community member

9 December 2016

9/12/16

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.

John

Kwiziq community member

20 February 2016

2 replies

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?

Laura

Kwiziq language super star

20 February 2016

20/02/16

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.

Tom

Kwiziq community member

21 July 2018

21/07/18

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

Clever stuff underway!