Sortir Vs. Partir

Bonjour! Over the past several years I’ve been teaching French to students of all levels over the Internet. One of the questions that’s come up over and over is: “What’s the difference between sortir and partir?”

The answer is actually very simple. Sortir means “to go out” and Partir means “to leave”.

Before we go any further let’s take a quick look at conjugations of the two verbs in the present tense. Notice that both are irregular IR verbs with the endings -s, -s, -t, -onz, -ez and -ent.

SORTIR TO GO OUT
je sors
tu sors
il sort
nous sortons
vous sortez
ils sortent

PARTIR TO LEAVE
je pars
tu pars
il part
nous partons
vous partez
ils partent

SORTIR – EXAMPLE SENTENCES

  • Excuse-moi, à quelle heure est-ce que tu sors ce soir?
    Excuse me, what time are you going out tonight?
  • Euh, ce soir je ne sors pas de chez moi. Je ne me sens pas bien et je reste à la maison.
    Euh, tonight I’m not going out (from my home). I don’t feel well and I’m staying home.
  • Est-ce que tu sors tout seul ou est-ce que tu sors avec tes amis?
    Are you going out on your own or are you going out with your friends?
  • Je ne sors pas tout seul. Je sors avec mes amis Pierre est Jacques.
    I’m not going out alone. I’m going out with a few good friends.
  • Pourquoi est-ce qu’il ne sort pas ce soir? Pourquoi est-ce qu’il reste chez lui?
    Why isn’t he going out tonight? Why is he staying in?
  • Il ne sort pas ce soir parce qu’il va regarder un bon film à la télé.
    He’s not going out tonight because he’s going to watch a good movie on TV.

There are lots of other usages of sortir. One common usage is “sortir ensemble” to go out together.

  • Julie et Marc sortent ensemble depuis l’année dernière et ils sont très heureux ensemble.
    Julie and Marc have been going out together since last year and they’re very happy together.
  • When sortir is followed by a direct object it means to take something out. Example:
    Je ne sors pas les poubelles aujourd’hui parce que je suis trop parasseux.

PARTIR – EXAMPLE SENTENCES.

Partir is different as it means to leave or to depart. Examples:

  • Pourquoi est-ce qu’il ne part pas? Pourquoi est-ce qu’il rest si longtemps?
    Why isn’t he leaving? Why is he staying for so long?
  • Il ne part pas parce qu’il s’amuse et il aime parler avec les gens ici.
    He’s not leaving because he’s having fun and he like to talk to the people here.
  • Savez-vous s’ils partent aujourd’hui ou demain?
    Do you know if they’re leaving today or tomrrow?
  • Apparement ils ne partent pas aujourd’hui parce qu’il y a une tempête de neige.
    Apparently they’re not leaving today because there’s a snow storm.
  • Est-ce que tu pars à Paris cette semaine ou la semaine prochaine?
    Are you leaving for Paris this week or next week.
  • Je pars cette semaine! Je suis déjà en vacances!
    I’m leaving this week! I’m already on vacation!
  • Savez-vous à quelle heure le train part ce soir?
    Do you know when the train is leaving/departing tonight?
  • Je pense que le train pars à 23h00 mais je ne suis pas certain.
    I think the train is leaving at 11.00pm but I’m not sure.
  • One other frequent usage of “partir” is in the expression “à partir de”, which means “starting from”.
  • À partir d’aujourd’hui je vais manger moins de cochonneries et plus de fruits et legumes.
    Starting from today I’m going to eat less junk food and more fruit and vegetables.
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