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