Passe Composé verbs needing être

What verbs use être in the passé composé?

Do you struggle to remember whether to use “avoir” or “être” in the passé composé?

Here’s an easy way to remember with an acronym: MRS VANDERTRAMP

Montermonté(went up)
Sortirsorti(went out)
Naître  (was born)
Descendre descendu(went down)
Rester  resté(stayed)
Rentrerrentré(went back in)
Partir   parti(left)

Here’s another visual representation of these verbs.

Here are some examples:

  1. Il est monté au grenier =  He went up into the attic
  2. Il est né en 1975 = He was born in 1975
  3. Elle est tombée = She fell over
  4. Je suis arrivé lundi = I arrived on Monday
  5. Nous sommes allés à la bibliotèque pour emprunter un livre = We went to the library to borrow a book
  6. Il est retourné en Afrique du sud = He went back to South Africa
  7. Il est entré sans rien dire = He came in without saying anything
  8. Ils sont venus me voir = They came to see me
  9. Nous sommes restés chez nous = We stayed at home
  10. Tu es sorti voir tes amis = You went out to see your friends

Maintenant, à vous ! Traduisez ces phrases en Français:

  1. We arrived late


  1. Her baby was born in May


  1. He went out with a girl called Anna


  1. We didn’t come home late


  1. Elise fell over at her gym lesson


  1. I stayed at home last night


  1. We went to see our parents at the weekend


  1. Jean and Marie came together


  1. His parents died in an accident on the motorway


  1. I came back from holiday last night


Reflexive verbs also take “être” in the passé composé.

Here’s an example with “se laver” (to get washed)

Je me suis lavé(e)I got washed
Tu t’es lavé(e)you got washed
Il s’est lavéhe got washed
Elle s’est lavéeshe got washed
On s’est lavéwe got washed
Nous nous sommes lavé(e)swe got washed
Vous vous êtes lavé(e)syou got washed
Ils se sont lavésthey got washed
Elles se sont lavéesthey got washed

Want to boost your confidence when using the passé composé in French?

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