All about Partir

Everything you need to know about the irregular French verb partir

Partir is one of the most common French verbs. It is irregular in conjugation and requires être in the compound tenses.

Partir most commonly means "to leave" in the general sense of leaving a place - it's the opposite of arriver (to arrive):

Je vais partir ce soir
I'm going to leave tonight

Il n'est pas parti hier
He didn't leave yesterday

Meanings of partir

Partir has a few other meanings as well:

1. to shoot, fire

Le coup est parti tout seul
The gun went off (fired) by itself

Le bouchon est parti au plafond
The cork shot up to the ceiling

2. to start, get off to

Tout ça est bien/mal parti
It all started well/badly; It got off to a good/bad start

On est parti sur une mauvaise piste
We got off on the wrong track, to a bad start

3. (semi-auxiliary) partir + infinitive - to leave in order to do something

Peux-tu partir acheter du pain ?

Could you go out and buy some bread?

Il est parti étudier en Italie
He went to study in Italy

4. (euphemism) to die, pass away

Mon mari est parti
My husband passed away

Partir with prepositions

Partir is intransitive, which means that it cannot be followed by a direct object. However, it may be followed by a preposition + indefinite object (e.g., the destination or point/purpose of departure), or by a day, time, or other modifier.

Ils partent de Paris demain
They're leaving (from) Paris tomorrow

Quand vas-tu partir à la chasse ?
When are you leaving to go hunting?

Il est parti pour l'université
He left for college, went to college

On va partir demain
We're going to leave tomorrow

In addition, partir can have different meanings depending on the preposition that follows.

1. partir à + infinitive - to start (doing something, usually suddenly)

Il est parti à pleurer
He started crying, burst into tears

Je suis parti à rire
I started laughing, burst into laughter

2. partir dans + noun - to start (doing something which interrupts something else)

Il est parti dans une digression sans fin
He went off into an endless tangent

Ne pars pas dans une grande colère
Don't get (all) mad

3. partir de

   (a) to begin on, start from

Le contrat partira du 3 août
The contract will begin on 3 August

C'est le deuxième en partant de la gauche
It's the second from the left

Les rumeurs sont parties de rien
The rumors started out of nothing (there is no basis for them)

   (b) to come from

Ça part du cœur
It comes from the heart

D'où part ce bruit ?

Where is this noise coming from?

4. partir pour + infinitive - to start (and give the impression of continuing for a long time)

Il est parti pour parler pendant une heure
He started talking and looked like he'd keep going for an hour

Elle est partie pour nous raconter sa vie
She started telling us her life story

Expressions with partir

à partir de - from (time, date, place)

à partir de maintenant - from now on

à partir de ce moment-là - from then on

à partir du moment où - as soon as

À vos marques ! Prêts ? Partez !
- On your marks! Get set! Go!

c'est parti - here we go, here goes


Present tense

je pars
tu pars
il part
nous partons
vous partez
ils partent

All tenses