Verbs that require
in the Passé Composé
Learning which verbs take "avoir" and which take "être"
when forming the passé composé can be confusing for
the first year french student. However, with a little studying it shouldn't
be too hard and you should be able to do just fine.
To help you with this, I have gathered some of the more general rules regarding
the use of être. Studying these, along with your text, will hopefully
get you through the semester.
Dr & Mrs Van der Trampp
The simplest way to remember the verbs that take être in the passé
composé is to learn the phrase "Dr and Mrs Van der Trampp".
Each lettre in this phrase represents one verb that takes être when
forming the passé composé. For example:
D = descendre (to get down/off from)
R = rentrer (à) (to return)
M = monter (dans) (to climb up or into)
R = retourner (to return)
S = sortir (to go out)
V = venir (to come)
A = arriver (to arrive)
N = naître (to be born)
D = demeurer (to stay)
E = entrer (dans) (to enter in)
R = revenir (to come back)
T = tomber (to fall)
R = rester (to stay)
A = aller (to go)
M = mourir (to die)
P = passer (par) (to pass by)
P = partir (to leave)
If you looked closely at these verbs, you noticed that they are all verbs
of motion or movement (they consider mourir a verb of motion because
you can "drop dead"). If you add a prefix such as re (meaning
to do again; as in ressortir, repartir etc) you still will use être
in forming the passé composé.
All of these verbs are intransitive, meaning they do not have a
direct object, and when they are conjugated with être the past participle
functions as a complement adjective and must agree with the subject of the
sentence (in gender and number).
However, you can use some of these verbs (like descendre, monter,
passer and sortir) to indicate that something is being moved
down, up, past, or out. In these cases you would use avoir
to form the passé composé because the verb now has a direct
Verbs that indicate a change of state (devenir = to become) also
use être when forming the passé composé.
All reflexive verbs require the use of être when forming the