How to Conjugate the Irregular French Verb 'Sortir' ('to Exit')

Because it is irregular, you must memorize it to use it correctly

family leaving house
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Sortir ("to exit, leave or go out") is a frequently used French irregular -ir verb. Below are the simple conjugations of the verb sortir; they do not include the compound tenses, which consist of a form of the auxiliary verb and the past participle.

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

'Sortir' Is Conjugated Like 'Partir' and 'Dormir'

Sortir lies in the first group of irregular -ir verbs that display a pattern. It includes dormir, mentir, partir, sentir, servir, sortir, and all of their derivatives (such as repartir). All of these verbs drop the last letter of the radical (root) in the singular conjugations. For instance, first person singular of sortir is je sors (no "t") and 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.

'Sortir' Shares Conjugation With Verbs Ending in -mir, -tir or -vir

Generally speaking, most French verbs ending in -mir-tir, or -vir are conjugated this way. Such verbs include:

'Sortir': Uses

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.
  •    Nous ne sommes pas sortis depuis deux mois. > We haven't gone out for two months.

It can also be used as sortir de ("to leave, get out" or "to have just done something"), sortir en / à ("to go out in / on" as in Je veux sortir à bicyclette > "I want to go for a bike ride."), sortir en + present participle > "to [verb] out" and sortir par  ( "to get out/leave by/through") and sortir + direct object ("to take out").

Sortir can be used with different auxiliary verbs: être it's used intransitively, avoir when it's used transitively.

As a pronominal verb, se sortir de means to get out of, extricate oneself, while s'en sortir means to survive or get through a dangerous or difficult situation.

"Sortir": Expressions

There are plenty of idiomatic expressions using 'sortir.' Here are a few:

  • 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.

    Simple Conjugations of the Irregular French Verb 'Sortir'

     Present Future Imperfect Present participle
    ilsortsortirasortaitPassé composé
    noussortonssortironssortions   Auxiliary verb être
    voussortezsortirezsortiez   Past participlesorti
     Subjunctive Conditional Passé simple Imperfect subjunctive

    (nous) sortons