Monté les escaliers

Rust

Kwiziq community member

7 March 2018

3 replies

Monté les escaliers

Bonjour, According to my French teacher and on some websites, the correct way to say “You went up the stairs in silence.” is “Tu es monté les escaliers en silence.” as opposed to “Tu as monté les escaliers en silence.” Can you please clarify? Thanks!

This relates to:
Monter can be used with avoir or être in Le Passé Composé... and changes meaning -

Gruff

Kwiziq language super star

7 March 2018

7/03/18

Hi Rust - there are two versions of the verb monter: the first one works with a preposition (sur, en, dans etc) between it and some object (the thing one is getting in or on); the second version works directly with the object (with no preposition between). 

If there's a preposition, then you will use être as the auxiliary, but if there's no preposition you use avoir as the auxiliary.

This is something that is commonly misunderstood and wrongly taught by non-native French teachers who assume that monter always takes être as the auxiliary. There's even a famous mnemonic diagram called the 'maison d'être' which shows monter and descendre with stairs, implying that être is used in passé composé sentences like '... monter les escaliers', but we use avoir in this case.

Hope that helps!

R

Kwiziq community member

7 March 2018

7/03/18

Thank you Gruff! This is very interesting! I’ll ask my teacher about her logic for using être for monté les escaliers.

Gruff

Kwiziq language super star

7 March 2018

7/03/18

If you're interested in learning a little more about the grammar behind this, it's worth getting familiar with the terms 'transitive' and 'intransitive' verbs:

https://french.kwiziq.com/revision/glossary/transitivity 

Don't worry though if grammar jargon is a turn-off; all you need to watch out for is whether a preposition is bewteen the verb and the object and that tells you whether to use avoir or être with these verbs.

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