French Verb Sortir Conjugation

Sortir Conjugation, Usage, and Examples

Family leaving house
La famille sort de la maison. (The family leaves the house.).

Ariel Skelley/Getty Images

In French, sortir means "to exit," "to leave," or "to go out" and it is a frequently used irregular -ir verb. When you want to use it in conversational French, it's important to know how to conjugate it. This article will show you a few different meanings of sortir and its most frequently used conjugations: the present, present progressive, compound past, imperfect, simple future, near future indicative, the conditional, the present subjunctive, as well as the imperative and the gerund.

Sortir Is Conjugated Like Partir and Dormir

Within irregular -ir verbs, there are some patterns. Two groups exhibit similar characteristics and conjugation patterns. There is also a large category of extremely irregular -ir verbs that follow no pattern.

Sortir lies in the first group and it does follow a particular pattern. Besides sortir, this group includes dormir (to sleep), mentir (to lie), partir (to leave), sentir (to feel), servir (to serve) and all of their derivatives, such as repartir (to divide).

All of these verbs drop the last letter of the radical (root) in the singular conjugations. For instance, in first person singular of sortir is je sors (no "t") while the first person plural is nous sortons (retains the "t" from the root). The more you can recognize these patterns, the easier it will be to remember conjugations. Generally speaking, most French verbs ending in -mir-tir, or -vir are conjugated this way. 

Using Sortir in French

Sortir essentially means the opposite of entrer (to enter) and the meaning changes slightly depending on what follows it. But the most common meaning is "to go out" and "to exit or leave" as in Je veux sortir ce soir (I want to go out tonight) or Nous ne sommes pas sortis depuis deux mois (We haven't gone out for two months).

When followed by a preposition or a direct object, sortir takes on a slightly different and more specific meaning.

  • sortir de means "to get out of" or "to leave": As in, Tu dois sortir de l'eau (You need to get out of the water) and Sortez de chez moi ! (Get out of my house!). It can also be used for something like, D'où sort-il ? (Where has he been?).
  • sortir de (informal) means "to have just done something": As in, On sort de manger (We just ate) and Il sortait de finir (He had just finished).
  • sortir en / à means "to go out in / on": As in, Nous allons sortir en voiture (We're going to go out in the car / go for a drive) and Je veux sortir à bicyclette (I want to go out on my bike / go for a bike ride).
  • sortir en + present participle means "to ___ out": As in, Pourquoi est-il sorti en courant ? (Why did he run out?) and Elle sort en boitant (She is limping out).
  • sortir par means "to get out by means of": As in, Tu ne peux pas sortir par la porte (You can't get out through the door) and L'oiseau est sorti par la fenêtre (The bird went out the window).
  • sortir + direct object means "to take out": As in, Tu dois sortir le chien ce soir. (You need to take the dog out tonight) and J'ai sorti la voiture du garage (I took the car out of the garage).

    Sortir as a Pronominal Verb

    As a pronominal verb, se sortir de can take on even more meanings. For instance, se sortir de means "to get out of" or "to extricate oneself." For example, J'espère qu'il va pouvoir se sortir de cette situation (I hope he'll be able to get out of that situation), or Je me suis sorti d'un mauvais pas (I got out of a tight spot).

    S'en sortir means to survive/get through a dangerous or difficult situation, as in Je ne sais pas s'il va s'en sortir (I don't know if he's going to make it / pull through) or Tu t'en es bien sorti ! (You've done really well!).

    Common French Expressions With Sortir 

    There are plenty of idiomatic expressions using sortir. Keep in mind that you will need to conjugate sortir in many of these.

    • sortir indemne d'un choc - to exit unscathed
    • sortir de l'imagination - being the result of creativity, inspiration
    • sortir de sa cachette - get out of hiding
    • s'en sortir - to extract oneself from a difficult situation
    • sortir de l'ordinaire - to stand out from the ordinary
    • le petit oiseau va sortir. - The photo is about to be taken.

    Present Indicative

    Je sors Je sors de la maison à 8 heures du matin. I leave the house at 8 am.
    Tu sors Tu sors le chien. You take the dog out.
    Il/Elle/On sort Elle sort au cinéma avec Jean. She goes out to the movies with Jean.
    Nous sortons Nous sortons du travail très tard. We leave work very late.
    Vous sortez Vous sortez les poubelles après manger. You take the trash out after eating.
    Ils/Elles sortent Ils sortent par la fenêtre. They go out through the window.

    Present Progressive Indicative

    To speak about ongoing actions in the present in French you can use the regular present tense or the present progressive, which is formed with the present tense conjugation of the verb être (to be) + en train de + the infinitive verb (sortir).

    Je suis en train de sortir Je suis en train de sortir de la maison à 8 heures du matin. I am leaving the house at 8 am.
    Tu es en train de sortir Tu es en train de sortir le chien. You are taking the dog out.
    Il/Elle/On est en train de sortir Elle est en train de sortir au cinéma avec Jean. She is going out to the movies with Jean.
    Nous sommes en train de sortir Nous sommes en train de sortir du travail très tard. We are leaving work very late.
    Vous êtes en train de sortir Vous êtes en train de sortir les poubelles après manger. You are taking the trash out after eating.
    Ils/Elles sont en train de sortir Ils sont en train de sortir par la fenêtre. They are going out through the window.

    Compound Past Indicative

    The passé composé is translated to English as the simple past. It is formed using either the auxiliary verb être or the auxiliary verb avoir and the past participle sorti. Sortir is a special verb because in the compound tenses, it may be conjugated with both être or avoir, depending on whether sortir is used intransitively or transitively. When sortir is used intransitively, the auxiliary verb is être, and in that case the past participle must agree in gender and number with the subject: Es-tu sorti hier soir ? (Did you go out last night?). When sortir is used transitively, the auxiliary verb is avoir: J'ai sorti la voiture du garage (I took the car out of the garage).

    Je suis sorti(e)/ai sorti Je suis sorti de la maison à 8 heures du matin. I left the house at 8 am.
    Tu es sorti(e)/as sorti Tu as sorti le chien. You took the dog out.
    Il/Elle/On est sorti(e)/a sorti Elle est sortie au cinéma avec Jean. She went out to the movies with Jean.
    Nous sommes sortis(ies)/avons sorti Nous sommes sortis du travail très tard. We left work very late.
    Vous êtes sorti(s/ies)/avez sorti Vous avez sorti les poubelles après manger. You took the trash out after eating.
    Ils/Elles sont sortis(ies)/ont sorti Ils sont sortis par la fenêtre. They went out through the window.

    Imperfect Indicative

    The imperfect tense can be translated to English as "was going out" or "used to go out". It is used to talk about ongoing events or repeated actions in the past.

    Je sortais Je sortais de la maison à 8 heures du matin. I used to leave the house at 8 am.
    Tu sortais Tu sortais le chien. You used to take the dog out.
    Il/Elle/On sortait Elle sortait au cinéma avec Jean. She used to go out to the movies with Jean.
    Nous sortions Nous sortions du travail très tard. We used to leave work very late.
    Vous sortiez Vous sortiez les poubelles après manger. You used to take the trash out after eating.
    Ils/Elles sortaient Ils sortaient par la fenêtre. They used to go out through the window.

    Simple Future Indicative

    Je sortirai Je sortirai de la maison à 8 heures du matin. I will leave the house at 8 am.
    Tu sortiras Tu sortiras le chien. You will take the dog out.
    Il/Elle/On sortira Elle sortira au cinéma avec Jean. She will go out to the movies with Jean.
    Nous sortirons Nous sortirons du travail très tard. We will leave work very late.
    Vous sortirez Vous sortirez les poubelles après manger. You will take the trash out after eating.
    Ils/Elles sortiront Ils sortiront par la fenêtre. They will go out through the window.

    Near Future Indicative

    The near future in French is formed with the present tense conjugation of the verb aller (to go) + the infinitive (sortir). It is translated to English as "going to + verb.

    Je vais sortir Je vais sortir de la maison à 8 heures du matin. I am going to leave the house at 8 am.
    Tu vas sortir Tu va sortir le chien. You are going to take the dog out.
    Il/Elle/On va sortir Elle va sortir au cinéma avec Jean. She is going to go out to the movies with Jean.
    Nous allons sortir Nous allons sortir du travail très tard. We are going to leave work very late.
    Vous allez sortir Vous allez sortir les poubelles après manger. You are going to take the trash out after eating.
    Ils/Elles vont sortir Ils vont sortir par la fenêtre. They are going to go out through the window.

    Conditional

    To talk about possibilities or hypothetical events, you can use the conditional mood.

    Je sortirais Je sortirais de la maison à 8 heures du matin si je me levais plus tôt. I would leave the house at 8 am if I got up earlier.
    Tu sortirais Tu sortirais le chien si je le demandais. You would take the dog out if I asked for it.
    Il/Elle/On sortirait Elle sortirait au cinéma avec Jean si elle voulait. She would go out to the movies with Jean if she wanted to.
    Nous sortirions Nous sortirions du travail très tard si c'était nécessaire. We would leave work very late if it were necessary.
    Vous sortiriez Vous sortiriez les poubelles après manger si vous vouliez. You would take the trash out after eating if you wanted to.
    Ils/Elles sortiraient Ils sortiraient par la fenêtre s'ils pouvaient. They would go out through the window if they could.

    Present Subjunctive

    The subjunctive mood is used in cases where the action is uncertain.

    Que je sortes Il est important que je sortes de la maison à 8 heures du matin. It's important that I leave the house at 8 am.
    Que tu sortes Maurice est content que tu sortes le chien. Maurice is happy that you take the dog out.
    Qu'il/Elle/On sorte Il est possible qu'elle sorte au cinéma avec Jean. It is possible that she go out to the movies with Jean.
    Que nous sortions Le patron suggère que nous sortons du travail très tard. The boss suggests that we leave work very late.
    Que vous sortiez Votre père exige que vous sortiez les poubelles après manger. Your father demands that you take the trash out after eating.
    Qu'ils/Elles sortent Carl conseille qu'ils sortent par la fenêtre. Carl advises that they go out through the window.

    Imperative

    There are times when you simply want to tell someone to "Get out!" On these occasions, you can turn to the imperative verb mood which does not require a subject pronoun. Instead, you can just tell them "Sors !" To form the negative commands, simply place ne...pas around the positive command.

    Positive commands

    Tu sors ! Sors le chien ! Take the dog out!
    Nous sortons ! Sortons du travail très tard ! Let's leave work very late!
    Vous sortez ! Sortez les poubelles ! Take out the trash!

    Negative commands

    Tu ne sors pas ! Ne sors pas le chien ! Don't take the dog out!
    Nous ne sortons pas ! Ne sortons pas du travail très tard ! Let's not leave work very late!
    Vous ne sortez pas ! Ne sortez pas les poubelles ! Don't take out the trash!

    Present Participle/Gerund

    The present participle of sortir is sortant. This was formed by simply adding -ant to the verb stem. The present participle can be used to form the gerund (usually preceded by the preposition en), which can be used to talk about simultaneous actions.

    Present participle/gerund of Sortir sortant Il est tombé en sortant le chien. He fell down while taking the dog out.