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There are certain French verbs which require être as the auxiliary verb in the passé composé and other compound tenses...
There are 14 common verbs plus numerous derivatives which take être, and their derivatives usually do too. For example, entrer is an être verb, as is its derivative rentrer. Generally speaking, all of the verbs indicate a particular kind of movement, either literal or figurative
One very important thing to remember is that verbs only use être when they are intransitive (do not have a direct object)
- Je suis passé à huit heures
- J'ai passé la maison.
- Je suis monté avant lui
- J'ai monté la valise.
I have the students sing the past participles of the verbs to the tune of "Ten Little Indians." It's a good way to remember which verbs take être, plus it helps them remember the irregular past participles:
allé, arrivé, venu, revenu, entré, rentré, descendu, devenu, sorti, parti, resté, retourné, monté, tombé, né et mort.
Verbs that require être in the passé composé and other compound tenses are intransitive - that is, they have no direct object. But some of them can be used transitively (with a direct object), and when this happens, these verbs need avoir as the helping verb. In addition, there is a slight change in meaning.
- Il est descendu. - He went down(stairs).
- Il a descendu l'escalier. - He went down the stairs.
- Il a descendu la valise. - He took the suitcase down.
- Il est monté. - He went up(stairs).
- Il a monté la côte. - He went up the hill.
- Il a monté les livres. - He took the books up.passer
- Je suis passé devant le parc. - I went by the park.
- J'ai passé la porte. - I went through the door.
- J'ai passé une heure ici. - I spent an hour here.
- Je suis rentré. - I came home.
- J'ai rentré les chaises. - I brought the chairs inside.
retournée en France. - She has returned to France. Elle a
retourné la lettre. - She returned / sent back the letter.
- Elle est sortie. - She went out.
- Elle a sorti la voiture - She took the car out.