Conjugate coming and going verbs (+ être) in Le Passé Composé (conversational past)

Le Passé Composé  is created with the verb avoir in most cases, however a fixed number of verbs use être as the auxiliary verb instead.  They are almost all verbs to do with movement.

Je suis venu te voir.
I came to see you.

Tu es rentré tard.
You came home late.

Le voleur est entré par la fenêtre.
The thief entered by the window.

Nous sommes revenus.
We came back.

Vous êtes allés au cirque hier.
You went to the circus yesterday.

Marc est tombé par terre.
Marc fell on the floor.

Ils sont arrivés à l'heure.
They arrived on time.

Note that you say: Je suis allé (I went) and not j'ai allé.

ATTENTION:
Note that the past participle following être agrees with the subject of the verb.
To learn about this, see Agreeing past participle with subject's gender and number with (+ être) verbs in Le Passé Composé 

The verbs to do with coming and going use être

Aller to go – allé
Venir – to come – venu
Revenir – to come back – revenu
Arriver – to arrive – arrivé
Entrer – to enter – entré
Rentrer – to re-enter – rentré
Retourner to return – retourné
Sortir – to exit – sorti
Partir – to leave – parti
Tomber – to fall – tombé
 
 
There is also a "house diagram" showing these verbs in one easy-to-remember picture on wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:La_maison_etre.jpg  
 
 
 
 

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Nous sommes revenus.
We came back.


On est partis tôt.
We left early.


Je suis venu te voir.
I came to see you.


Marc est tombé par terre.
Marc fell on the floor.


Tu es rentré tard.
You came home late.


Elle est allée au marché.
She went to the market.


Vous êtes allés au cirque hier.
You went to the circus yesterday.


Le voleur est entré par la fenêtre.
The thief entered by the window.



Ils sont arrivés à l'heure.
They arrived on time.



Q&A

Madeleine

Kwiziq community member

2 August 2018

1 reply

monter and descendre

'Monter' and 'Descendre' weren't included on the list, but I believe they also conjugate with 'etre'. Do you cover these in a different topic?

Chris

Kwiziq community member

3 August 2018

3/08/18

Monter et descendre can use both être and avoir and change meaning in doing so. There are lessons on this specific topic.

Terri

Kwiziq community member

31 August 2017

2 replies

arriver, to manage, also uses être as the auxiliary verb?

I answered the quiz using 'as arrivé' for 'managed', but it was marked wrong and this is the linked page. There are other verbs which sometimes and avoir and sometimes être depending on meaning. Do I correctly understand that with arriver it only uses être? Thank you, Terri

Laura

Kwiziq language super star

31 August 2017

31/08/17

Bonjour Terri, The rule is that when verbs like sortir and monter are transitive (followed by a direct object), they take avoir; otherwise it's être. In the case of arriver, it's impossible to use a direct object; therefore, the auxiliary is always être. I hope this helps, bonne continuation !

Terri

Kwiziq community member

31 August 2017

31/08/17

Thanks so much, Laura. This is a great help, and very clear! Terri

Susan

Kwiziq community member

17 September 2016

2 replies

Is, tomber par terre, idiomatic?

If not, why not use, plancher? And what happened to the definite articles?

Laura

Kwiziq language super star

19 September 2016

19/09/16

Bonjour Susan, Yes, "tomber par terre" is idiomatic. "Par terre" is a set expression meaning "on the ground." Tomber au plancher is also acceptable.

Susan

Kwiziq community member

19 September 2016

19/09/16

Interesting, given the distinction drawn in English between "ground" and "floor" - even though this example is idiomatic. Merci!

Julia

Kwiziq community member

29 August 2016

1 reply

Vous êtes allés au cirque hier. Why does she pronounce the s in etes but not the s in alles?

Mark

Kwiziq community member

29 August 2016

29/08/16

I think the reason is that some liaisons in French are voluntary, and this is one of them. You can pronounce the s in allés or leave it out whichever you prefer at the time. Though when reading poetry I believe it's normal to pronounce all possible liaisons.
Let me take a look at that...