Habiter, demeurer, and vivre all mean “to live.” Habiter and demeurer mean “to live” or “to dwell” and are used with a place. Habiter may or may not be followed by the preposition à. Vivre means “to live” or “to be alive.”
- J'habite (á) Nice.
- Je demeure à Nice.
- I live in Nice.
- Je vis à cent à l'heure.
- I live in the fast lane.
Jouer means “to play.” When followed by the preposition á or any of its forms, jouer refers to playing a sport or game. When followed by the preposition de or any of its forms, jouer refers to playing a musical instrument.
- Nous jouons aux cartes. (We're playing cards.)
- Il joue du piano. (He plays the piano.)
Penser á and penser de mean “to think about,” but penser de is used only in a question that requests an opinion about something.
- Á qui penses‐tu? (About whom are you thinking?)
- Je pense à mon fils. (I'm thinking about my son.)
- Je pense à lui. (I'm thinking about him.)
- Que penses‐tu de lui? (What do you think of him? or What is your opinion of him?)
Passer means “to spend time.” Used reflexively, se passer means “to happen” or “to take place.” And the reflexive expression se passer de means “to do without.”
- Je vais passer un mois en France. (I'm going to spend a month in France.)
- Qu'est‐ce qui s'est passé? (What happened? [meaning: What took place?])
- On ne peut pas se passer d'eau. (One can't do without water.)
Servir means “to serve,” while se servir de means “to use.”
- On se sert d'une louche pour servir de la soupe. (One uses a ladle to serve soup.)
Venir + de + infinitive in the present tense means “to have just”; in the imperfect, venir + de + infinitive means “had just.”
- Elle vient d'arriver. (She [has] just arrived.)
- Elle venait d'arriver. (She had just arrived.)
There are five ways to express “to leave”: partir, sortir, s'en aller, quitter, and laisser.
Partir means “to go away.”
Sortir means “to go (come) out of a place,” “to go out with someone,” or “to take something out.”
Il sort souvent. (He goes out often.)
Il sort de la pièce. (He leaves the room.)
Il sort avec moi. (He's going out with me.)
Il sort son argent. (He takes out his money.)
S'en aller means “to go away.”
Quitter means “to leave a person (or place),” and the person or place must be mentioned.
Laisser means “to leave a person (or thing) behind.”