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

In Passé composé or conversational past, most verbs use avoir as their auxiliary.
However, a fixed number of verbs use être as their 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.

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:
La maison être  
  

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

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.



Nous sommes revenus.
We came back.


Q&A

John

Kwiziq community member

24 April 2019

2 replies

Can you please define ‘ conversational past ‘ a little more clearly ?

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

24 April 2019

24/04/19

Bonjour John !

We have a glossary page explaining in details what the conversational past, or Passé Composé, entails :

https://french.kwiziq.com/revision/glossary/verb-tense-mood/the-french-simple-past-le-passe-compose

Now thanks to you, we've made the link to that explanatory page clearer on the lesson page :)

I hope that's helpful!
Bonne journée !

John

Kwiziq community member

24 April 2019

24/04/19

Many Thanks.

Heather

Kwiziq community member

21 February 2019

4 replies

In the example “On est partis.” partis is made plural even though on is considered singular. Is this correct?

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

21 February 2019

21/02/19

Hi Heather, 

'On' in this case is 'we', so the past participles agrees in plurality, a bit quirky but correct...

Jinn

Kwiziq community member

5 May 2019

5/05/19

But ètre is still singular, 'On est partis tôt.'? Is it correct when 'On' is 'we', the past participle is in plural form, but ètre is in third person singular form. 

Heather

Kwiziq community member

6 May 2019

6/05/19

Vous êtes parti and vous êtes partis are both accepted as vous can be singular  or plural. The form of être doesn’t change, just the past participle. We just need to think of “on” the same way, it can have a singular or plural meaning, still followed by “est”, but a past participle that changes with plurality. 

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

6 May 2019

6/05/19

Hi Jinn,

On is like il or elle in terms of conjugating the verb.

Take a look at the following lesson for examples  

https://french.kwiziq.com/revision/grammar/subject-pronouns-nous-versus-on

and in particular the green box :

On is a more informal we, used predominantly in speech or casual writing (in emails to your friends for example). This is also a singular pronoun which is followed by the same form of the verb as singular il or elle. 

Hope this helps!

Susan

Kwiziq community member

23 December 2018

1 reply

In the question 'You came home late' should it have indicated whether the 'you' was male or female ?

Chris

Kwiziq community member

23 December 2018

23/12/18

I believe it will accept either gender if there is no specific hint.

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.
Clever stuff underway!