Partir Conjugation

Instructor: Susan Binkley

Susan has taught college-level French and has a PhD in French studies.

In this lesson, we will learn all about the verb 'partir,' which means 'to leave' in English. We will look at a common situation where you might hear it, view the conjugation, and learn a few sentences using the verb.

Using the Verb Partir

It's going to be a great weekend getaway! You're on a study abroad program in France, and this weekend is for free travel. There won't be any organized field trips, so you are all free to travel on your own! When are you leaving? You tell your friend Marie that you're leaving at 8:30: 'Je pars' (pronounced: zhuh par) 'à 8h30.'

Marie is taking a train later in the morning, and she's leaving at 11:00. 'Je pars à 11h00,' she says.

Daniel and Marc overhear your plans for the weekend, and they join in the conversation. 'Nous partons' (pronounced: noo par tohn) 'à 11h00 aussi.' ('We're leaving at 11:00 too.')

And Thomas? He's leaving really early in the morning: Il part (pronounced: eel par) à 6h00.

Did you notice the forms of partir that were used here? Partir is the infinitive form of the verb or the basic, generic form. When we use it with a pronoun such as je to say 'I am leaving,' we use the appropriate form or conjugation: je pars.

Il part.

Let's take a look at the verb conjugation in the present tense for all of the forms.

Forms of Partir

Here's the conjugation chart for partir:

VERB: Partir (par teer)

Subject Pronoun Partir Conjugation Pronunciation Translation
je je pars (zhuh par) I leave, I am leaving
tu tu pars (too par) You leave, you are leaving
il/elle/on il/elle/on part (eel/el/ohn par) he/she leaves, he/she is leaving
nous nous partons (noo par tohn) we leave, we are leaving
vous vous partez (voo par tay) you leave, you are leaving
ils/elles ils/elles partent (eel/el part) they leave, they are leaving

The conjugation of this verb is not exactly the same as the other verbs that follow the pattern for verbs ending in -ir. Since this verb does not fit the normal pattern of verbs ending in -ir, we call this an 'irregular' -ir verb.

Other Examples with Partir

Let's get back to your weekend plans and look at some more example sentences using partir. Where is Marie going this weekend? Marie tells you that she's leaving for Lyon: 'Je pars pour Lyon.' That's great!

Two other students, Anne and Richard, are going to Lyon too! 'Anne et Richard, ils partent pour Lyon aussi,' you tell Marie.

You may have noticed from the examples that the verb partir is followed by à in some cases but by pour in other cases. In French, these prepositions--à and pour--are both used after the verb partir, depending on the meaning. In English, we say, 'I'm leaving at 9:00,' so in French, the sentence would need à after partir: Je pars à 9h00. When you use partir to indicate a place, you need to use pour, as in, 'I'm leaving for Paris': Je pars pour Paris.

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