Être verbs

All French verbs take 'avoir' to form the passé composé tense except for these seventeen verbs:

aller, arriver, descendre, devenir, entrer, monter, mourir, naître, partir, passer, rentrer, rester, retourner, revenir, sortir, tomber, and venir,

which take être instead of avoir.

All pronominal verbs (se lever, se coucher, se promener, etc.) also take être instead of avoir to form the passé composé tense.

March 18, 2013


In school we are taught Mr Mrs Vandertramp ses verbes indiquent que tu subis l'action once you know this you should not have to memoreis

May 23, 2013

Well done!

Just a few details about those of the 17 "être" verbs which also exist with "avoir" when transitive:

  • Descendre: j'ai descendu l'escalier (I walked down the stairs)
  • Descendre: il a descendu son ennemi (he shot down his enemy)
  • Monter: j'ai monté l'escalier (I walked up the stairs)
  • Monter: j'ai monté la mayonnaise (I wounded up the mayonnaise)
  • Entrer: j'ai entré mon mot de passe (I entered my password)
  • Passer: j'ai passé des heures à travailler (I spent hours working) + many, many other uses
  • Retourner: j'ai retourné la crêpe (I turned the crêpe over)
  • Sortir: j'ai sorti le chien ce matin (I took the dog out this morning)
  • Tomber: j'ai tombé la veste (I took my jacket off)
March 18, 2013

what do you mean by " transitive"?

November 22, 2016
  • transitive verb — A verb that can take a direct object. For instance, manger ("to eat").

November 22, 2016

j'ai monté la mayonnaise (I wounded up the mayonnaise) - What does this mean, in connection with mayonnaise? I only know "monter" transitive as "to carry up" . je monte la valise.

October 10, 2017

The meaning of "monter" is in "up". The meaning is "assemble" or "put together", as you would do with an Ikea cupboard.

October 11, 2017

When I learned these (20+ years ago...forgive my bad memory) we learned them in pairs since they are opposites (I think). Aller-venir, arriver-partir, naître-mourir, monter-descendre, etc.... It could help in memorizing and remembering.

March 18, 2013

That's the way I was taught them too. For what it's worth, I was taught to use the mnemonic ADVENT:

Arriver (opposite is partir)

Descendre (monter)

Venir (aller) [and this is the point to remember devenir, revenir]

Entrer (sortir) [and remember rentrer here]

Naître (mourir)


That way there's only a few stragglers to remember off by heart. I may have remembered this all slightly wrong, but the fact I've remembered it at all ten plus years down the line suggests it might be of some value.

March 19, 2013

I haven't heard that before, that's interesting. I remember being taught "DR. & MRS. VANDERTRAMPP."

May 13, 2015

Good stuff! ADVENT doesn't ring any bells with me, but it probably would have saved me a few headaches!

March 19, 2013

We were taught TRAMPS DEMAND 3 Returns to Venice

Tomber Rester Aller Mourir Partir Sortir

Devenir Entrer Monter Arriver Naitre Descendre

(3 Returns) Retourner Rentrer Revenir

(Venice) Venir

June 30, 2015

There also seems to be a pattern about motion with these verbs. Most obviously: coming, going, leaving, descending, etc. (as well as all the verbs based on venir). Rester has to do with stopping motion, so it sort of fits. The only ones which don't seem to fit this pattern (I think) are mourir and naître. But think of these as entering and leaving life, and they still fit.

March 20, 2013

Smart comment!

March 20, 2013

New learners--the être verbs can be remembered by an anagram, "DR. MRS. VANDERTRAMPP"

Descendre Rentrer

Montrer Retourner Sortir

Venir Aller Naître Devenir Entrer Revenir Tomber Rester Arriver Mourir Partir Passer

In addition, in high school, we wrote & drew on a picture of a house and thought of all of these verbs as things you do with the house--go up the stairs, go downstairs, leave it, come back to it, etc. We would be "born" into the ceiling above it and "died" in the soil. Weird, but it worked.

June 18, 2013

lol I,m french and I didn't eaven know about that (all those attributive verbs), but it seam natural for me so... but some verb can bot be with ''avoir et être''!

I learn somethin in my own mother tongue, thanx!!

April 9, 2013
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