All About the Regular French Verb 'Laisser' ('to Leave')

Uses, Expressions, Conjugations, and Other Verbs That Mean 'to Leave'

Laisser ("to leave, to lose") is a regular -er verb that shares conjugation patterns in all tenses and moods with every other regular French verb ending in -er, by far the largest group of French verbs. Laisser is commonly used as a semi-auxiliary verb as well as a pronominal verb.

Meaning No. 1: 'to Leave'

Laisser is a transitive verb that takes a direct object and means "to leave something or someone."

  •  Peux-tu me laisser de l'argent ? > Could you leave me some money?
  •  Je vais laisser la porte ouverte. > I'm going to leave the door open.
  •  Cela me laisse perplexe. > That leaves me perplexed.
  •  Au revoir, je te laisse. > Good-bye, I'm going/leaving.
  •  Laisse, je vais le faire. > Leave it, I'll do it.

Laisser is one of five verbs in French that mean "to leave," and English speakers tend to confuse them. These are the essential differences:

  • Laisser means "to leave something."
  • Partir is the most straightforward and simply means "to leave" in a general sense.
  • S'en aller is more or less interchangeable with partir, but it has the slightly informal nuance of going away.
  • Sortir means to " go out."
  • Quitter means "to leave someone or something," often implying a prolonged separation.

Meaning No. 2: 'to Lose'

Laisser less commonly means "to lose something." Notice the verb continues to be transitive in this sense; it still takes a direct object.

  • Il a laissé un bras dans l'accident. > He lost an arm in the accident
  • Elle a failli laisser sa vie hier. > She almost lost her life yesterday.

Laisser As a Semi-Auxiliary Verb

When laisser is followed by an infinitive, it means "to let (someone) do (something)."

  •  Il m'a laissé sortir. > He let me go out.
  • Laisse-le jouer. > Let him play.

'Laisser' as a Pronominal Verb

Se laisser plus infinitive means "to let oneself be(come)," as in:

  • Il s'est laissé persuader. > He let himself be persuaded.
  • Ne te laisse pas décourager ! > Don't let yourself get discouraged!

Expressions with 'Laisser'

Laisser is used in a number of idiomatic expressions, including:

  • laisser tomber > to drop
  • Laissez-moi rire. > Don't make me laugh.
  • Laisse faire. > Never mind! / Don't bother!
  • On ne va pas le laisser faire sans réagir ! > We're not going to let him get away with that!

'Laisser' As a Regular French '-er' Verb

The majority of French verbs are regular -er verbs, as laisser is. (There are five main kinds of verbs in French: regular -er, -ir, -re verbs; stem-changing verbs; and irregular verbs.)

To conjugate a regular French -er verb, remove the -er ending from the infinitive to reveal the verb's stem. Then add the regular -er endings to the stem. Note that regular -er verbs share conjugation patterns in all tenses and moods.

The same endings in the table can be applied to any of the regular French -er verbs listed below the table.

Note that the following conjugation table includes simple conjugations only. Compound conjugations, which consist of a conjugated form of the auxiliary verb avoir and the past participle laissé, are not included.

Simple Conjugations of the Regular '-er-' Verb 'Laisser'

 Present  Future  Imperfect Present participle
illaisselaisseralaissaitPassé composé
nouslaissonslaisseronslaissions   Auxiliary verb avoir
vouslaissezlaisserezlaissiez   Past participle laissé
 Subjunctive Conditional Passé simple Imperfect subjunctive

(nous) laissons 

More Common French Regular '-er' Verbs

Here are just a few of the most common regular-er verbs:

*All regular -er verbs are conjugated according to the regular -er verb conjugation pattern, except for one small irregularity in verbs that end in -ger and -cer, known as spelling-change verbs.

**Though conjugated just like regular -er verbs, watch out for verbs that end in -ier.

  • aimer > to like, to love
  • arriver > to arrive, to happen
  • chanter > to sing
  • chercher > to look for
  • commencer* > to begin
  • danse > to dance
  • demander > to ask for
  • dépenser > to spend (money)
  • détester > to hate
  • donner > to give
  • écouter > to listen to
  • étudier** > to study
  • fermer > to close
  • goûte > to taste
  • jouer > to play
  • laver > to wash
  • manger* > to eat
  • nager* > to swim
  • parler > to talk, to speak
  • passe > to pass, spend (time)
  • penser > to think
  • porter > to wear, to carry
  • regarder > to watch, to look at
  • rêver > to dream
  • sembler > to seem
  • skier** > to ski
  • travailler > to work
  • trouve > to find
  • visiter > to visit (a place)
  • voler > to fly, to steal
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ThoughtCo. "All About the Regular French Verb 'Laisser' ('to Leave')." ThoughtCo, Feb. 26, 2018, ThoughtCo. (2018, February 26). All About the Regular French Verb 'Laisser' ('to Leave'). Retrieved from ThoughtCo. "All About the Regular French Verb 'Laisser' ('to Leave')." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 23, 2018).