The Passé Composé with Être

The passé composé of 17 verbs is formed by combining the present tense of être (je suis, tu es, il est, nous sommes, vous êtes, ils sont) and then adding the past participle of the verb showing the action. Most of these verbs express motion or a change of place, state, or condition (that is, going up, going down, going in, going out, or remaining).

Dr. and Mrs. Vandertrampp live in the house in Figure , as illustrated in Table 1. Their name may help you memorize the 17 verbs using être. An asterisk (*) in Table 6 denotes an irregular past participle.

Verbs whose helping verb is être must show agreement of their past participles in gender (masculine or feminine — add e) and number (singular or plural — add s) with the subject noun or pronoun, as shown in Table 2 :

 

Remember the following rules when using être as a helping verb in the passé composé:

Vous can be a singular or plural subject for both masculine and feminine subjects.

Singular                                             Plural

Vous êtes entré. (You entered.)             Vous êtes entrés. (You entered.)

Vous êtes entrée. (You entered.)           Vous êtes entrées. (You entered.)

For a mixed group, always use the masculine form.

  • Roger et Bernard sont revenus. (Roger and Bernard came back.)
  • Louise et Mireille sont revenues. (Louise and Mireille came back.)
  • Roger et Louise sont revenus. (Roger and Louise came back.)

If the masculine past participle ends in an unpronounced consonant, pronounce the consonant for the feminine singular and plural forms:

  • Il est mort. (He died.) Ils sont morts. (They died.)
  • Elle est morte. (She died.) Elles sont mortes. (They died.)

Forming the negative in the passé composé with être

In the negative, put ne before the conjugated form of être and the negative word after it:

  • Il n'est pas sorti. (He didn't go out.)
  • Elles ne sont pas encore arrivées. (They didn't arrive yet.)

Questions in the passé composé with être

To form a question using inversion, invert the conjugated form of être with the subject pronoun and add a hyphen. The negatives surround the hyphenated verb and pronoun:

  • Sont‐ils partis? (Did they leave?)
  • Ne sont‐ils pas partis? (Didn't they leave?)