Auxiliary verbs - when to use avoir or être

PeterB1Kwiziq community member

Auxiliary verbs - when to use avoir or être

In the question "I went back to see her." I replied J'ai retourné la voir. Wrong.

Whenever I check on some verb sites for the passé composé for Retourner it gives me Avoir as the auxiliary. How do I determine when this type of verb uses  être or when it uses avoir?

Asked 1 year ago
MaartenC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

There is a series of lessons on verbs that can use être or avoir in compound tenses. Most follow the same rule, but beware there is an exception - it’s not retourner!

Link for retourner ( and demeurer, the exception )

Retourner can be used with avoir or être in compound tenses depending on its meaning in French (Le Passé Composé)

Demeurer can be used with avoir or être in compound tenses depending on its meaning in French (Le Passé Composé)

MarkC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

See your problem but retourner changes its meaning when used with avoir.. it is not entirely obvious but is well explained in Maarten's links

In your example YOU are returning, être.. you are not acting on an object.. avoir.

(The one that catches me is climbing the stairs..now that one IS illogical unless I were a carpenter!)

MaartenC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Peter, there are a number of good verb conjugation sites on line, but Bescherelle is what I use - it is a descendant of a classic, comprehensive - covering both older and revised spelling, and includes the dual forms of compound verbs such as retourner that use être or avoir.

It is easy to use and exactly the right price !

https://bescherelle.com/conjugueur.php?term=Retourner

Auxiliary verbs - when to use avoir or être

In the question "I went back to see her." I replied J'ai retourné la voir. Wrong.

Whenever I check on some verb sites for the passé composé for Retourner it gives me Avoir as the auxiliary. How do I determine when this type of verb uses  être or when it uses avoir?

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