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“Sortir” Conjugation: How to Talk About Going Out in French

Have you ever seen a big sign in a French airport, train station, or shopping mall that read “sortie”? These signs guide you to the nearest exit, and the word sortie comes from the French verb sortir, meaning go out, leave or exit. The sortir conjugation is irregular and can seem tricky at first glance, but with a little practice you’ll be using it like a native in no time.

Definitions of sortir

Sortir can be translated best by the phrasal verb “go out”. Let’s look at some of the meanings and nuances of this verb.

To go out, leave, or exit a building

  • “Sortez par la porte d’entrée” – “Go out through the front door”

To go out, to a different location, for a period of time

  • “Je sors avec mes amis ce soir” – “I’m going out with my friends tonight”

To date/go out with an individual romantically

  • “Elle sort avec Max depuis 6 mois” – “She’s been dating Max for 6 months.”

To go/step outside

  • “Il fait trop chaud là-dedans, je sors” – “It’s too hot in here, I’m going outside”

To get out of something you were inside of or immersed in

  • “Sortez de l’eau, vous allez attraper froid” – “Get out of the water, you’re going to get cold”

To come out/to be released

  • “Son premier album sort aujourd’hui” – “His debut album comes out today”

To take something outside

  • “Je sors le chien pour qu’il fasse pipi avant de dormir” – “I take the dog out, so he can pee before going to sleep”

You can learn more about this meaning in the “Sortir – transitif direct” paragraph at the end of this article.

Sortir Conjugation Present Tense (le présent)

In the present tense, you may already know that verbs ending in -ir usually all have the same present tense endings, but “sortir” is an exception. This irregular verb shares its endings with the similar verb “partir”.

Je sors

I go out

Tu sors

You go out

Il/elle/on sort

He/she/it goes out

Nous sortons

We go out

Vous sortez

You go out (formal/plural)

Ils/elles sortent

They go out

  • Je sors avec Jérémie ce soir, ne m’attends pas pour manger – I’m going out with Jeremy tonight, don’t wait for me to eat
  • Nous sortons demain, habille-toi bien – We’re going out tomorrow, get dressed up
  • Les jeunes ne sortent pas avant 23h, personne n’est en ville plus tôt – Young people don’t go out before 11pm, nobody’s in town earlier

Sortir Conjugation Imperfect Tense (l’imparfait)

The imperfect tense is used for regular or continuous occurrences in the past, equivalent to the English “used to”. The stem of the verb sortir in the imperfect tenses is sort-, to which we must add the usual imperfect endings.

Je sortais

I used to go out/was going out

Tu sortais

You used to go out/were going out

Il/elle/on sortait

He/she/it used to go out/was going out

Nous sortions

We used to go out/were going out

Vous sortiez

You used to go out/were going out (formal/plural)

Ils/elles sortaient

They used to go out/were going out

  • Tu as été témoin d’un accident de la route lorsque tu sortais en ville – You witnessed a traffic accident when you were going out in town
  • Il sortait au milieu de la soirée pour éviter de parler aux gens – He used to go outside mid-party to avoid speaking to people
  • Vous sortiez tous les soirs dans les années 80 – You used to go out every night in the 80s

Sortir Conjugation French Passé Composé

The sortir conjugation in the past tense uses the auxiliary être instead of the usual avoir. The past participle is “sorti”, to which we add an “-e” for feminine subjects, an “-s” for plural subjects, and “-es” if the subject is both feminine and plural.

Je suis sorti·e

I went out

Tu es sorti·e

You went out

Il/elle/on est sorti·e

He/she/it went out

Nous sommes sorti·e·s

We went out

Vous êtes sorti·e·s

You went out (formal/plural)

Ils/elles sont sorti·e·s

They went out

  • Je suis sorti prendre l’air parce que je me sentais bouleversé – I went out to get some air because I felt overwhelmed
  • Elle est sortie sous la pluie pour chercher son chat – She went out in the rain to look for her cat
  • Ils sont sortis par l’ascenseur du personnel pour éviter d’être repérés par les paparazzis – They went out via the staff elevator to avoid being spotted by the paparazzi

Sortir Conjugation Future Tense (le futur simple)

The simple future is used to express an intention to do something in the future, or to express a supposition about future actions and situations. We use the simple future for suppositions that are more likely to come true than if the present conditional were used.

To form this tense, we add future endings to the future stem, which must always finish with the letter “r”. The future stem for the sortir conjugation is the infinitive, sortir.

Je sortirai

I will go out

Tu sortiras

You will go out

Il/elle/on sortira

He/she/it will go out

Nous sortirons

We will go out

Vous sortirez

You will go out (formal/plural)

Ils/elles sortiront

They will go out

  • Ta mère n’aura pas le temps aujourd’hui, j’imagine que vous sortirez plutôt demain – Your mother won’t have time today, I imagine you’ll go out tomorrow instead
  • Sortirez-vous avec moi, un jour ? – Will you go out with me, one day?
  • Nous ne sortirons jamais d’ici à ce rythme – We will never get out of here at this rate

Sortir Conjugation Near Future (le futur proche)

The near future tense is composed of the verb “aller” along with an infinitive verb. We use it to express our intentions and to talk about things that are going to occur imminently. It’s mainly used in spoken language, with the futur simple being preferred for written French.

Je vais sortir

I am going to go out

Tu vas sortir

You are going to go out

Il/elle/on va sortir

He/she/it is going to go out

Nous allons sortir

We are going to go out

Vous allez sortir

You are going to go out (formal/plural)

Ils/elles vont sortir

They are going to go out

  • Tu vas encore sortir ? Tu es très sociable en ce moment ! – You’re going to go out again? You’re very sociable at the moment!
  • Elle va sortir avec lui, alors qu’elle m’avait dit qu’elle n’était pas intéressée – She’s going to go out with him, even though she told me she wasn’t interested
  • Nous allons sortir en famille dans un parc d’attractions – We’re going to go out as a family to a theme park

Sortir in the Conditional Mood (le conditionnel présent)

In the conditional mood, verb endings are the same as the imperfect endings we saw earlier. However, we add them to the future stem ending in the letter “r”. In French, we must employ the conditional present instead of the English “would”, to talk about events that would only occur if a certain condition is met.

Je sortirais

I would go out

Tu sortirais

You would go out

Il/elle/on sortirait

He/she/it would go out

Nous sortirions

We would go out

Vous sortiriez

You would go out (formal/plural)

Ils/elles sortiraient

They would go out

  • Je sortirais de la maison avant l’arrivée des maçons, si j’étais toi – I would get out of the house before the builders arrive, if I were you
  • Il sortirait plus souvent s’il en avait les moyens – He would go out more often if he had the means
  • Si nous avions l’autorisation du réalisateur, nous sortirions le film tout de suite – If we had the director’s permission, we would release the movie right now

Sortir Conjugation Subjunctive Mood (le Subjonctif Présent)

If you’re not yet familiar with the subjunctive mood, then it’s not vital that you get to grips with it right now. If you have come across it and want to use the sortir conjugation in the subjunctive present, here’s what you need to know…

que je sorte

that I go out

que tu sortes

that you go out

qu’il/elle/on sorte

that he/she/it goes out

que nous sortions

that we go out

que vous sortiez

that you go out (formal/plural)

qu’ils/elles sortent

that they go out

  • Je suis content que vous sortiez ensemble – I’m happy that you’re going out with each other
  • Il est important qu’elle sorte de sa zone de confort afin de réaliser son plein potentiel – It is important that she step out of her comfort zone in order to reach her full potential
  • Avant qu’elles sorte du bureau, assurez-vous qu’elles ont fini leur travail – Before they leave the office, make sure they have finished their work

Sortir – transitif direct

We can’t cover the sortir conjugation without talking about sortir as a transitive verb. This means that it exerts its action on an object, called a direct object complement. This word or group of words joins the verb without a preposition, and it undergoes the action performed by the subject. Instead of meaning “to go out”, the verb sortir now means “to take out”.

If this is new to you, then it might be perplexing. Fear not, there’s an easy way to remember it: Sortir + something = to take something out

Here are some example sentences with the direct object in red:

  • Il sort son portefeuilleHe’s taking out his wallet
  • Je sortirai le chienI’ll take the dog out
  • Elle va sortir le bébé du bain avant qu’il n’ait froid – She is going to take the baby out of the bath before he gets cold

When we use compound tenses, such as le passé composé or le plus-que-parfait, this gets slightly more complex. Instead of using the auxiliary “être”, we use the auxiliary “avoir” along with the past participle, sorti. This makes it resemble the majority of other verbs, which use the avoir auxiliary, and therefore might in fact be easier to learn.

  • J’ai sorti la bague de la boîte et j’ai admiré le diamant – I took the ring out of the box and admired the diamond
  • Ils ont sorti les oiseaux de leurs cages et maintenant ils volent dans la pièce – They took the birds out of their cages, and now they’re flying around the room
  • Vous avez sorti le lait du réfrigérateur et oublié de le remettre – You took the milk out of the refrigerator and forgot to put it back


Here are some common phrases and expressions you are likely to hear in day-to-day life in a French-speaking country, that all contain the sortir conjugation. Their literal translations might sound like nonsense, so try to familiarize yourself with their figurative meanings.

S’en sortirTo get by/to cope

Literal translation: To get oneself out of it

  • Elle était sous beaucoup de pression, mais elle s’en est bien sortieShe was under a lot of pressure, but she coped well

Sortir de table – To get down from the table

Literal translation: To go out of table

  • On ne sort pas de table tant que tout le monde n’a pas fini de manger – We don’t get down from the table until everyone has finished eating

Sortir de l’esprit – To slip one’s mind

Literal translation: To go out of the mind

  • J’ai oublié que c’était son anniversaire, ça m’est complètement sorti de l’esprit – I forgot it was her birthday, it completely slipped my mind

Sortir en boîte – To go clubbing

Literal translation: To go out in a box (boîte is short for boîte de nuit meaning nightclub)

  • Même s’ils sont trop jeunes, de nombreux lycéens sortent en boîte – Even though they’re too young, many high school students go clubbing

Sortir du lot – To stand out from the crowd

Literal translation: To go out of the batch

  • Vous avez des qualités uniques, vous allez sortir du lot – You have unique qualities, you’re going to stand out from the crowd

Sortir le grand jeu – To pull out all the stops / go all out

Literal translation: To take out the big game

  • Tu sortais le grand jeu pour impressionner tes amis – You used to pull out all the stops to impress your friends

Challenge yourself with Clozemaster

Learning the sortir conjugation might seem daunting at first, but don’t worry, it comes naturally with practice.

Test your skills and see what you’ve learned from this article by playing a selection of sentences with forms of the verb sortir.

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