Passer with être and avoir

Answered! Jump to accepted answer.


Kwiziq community member

6 August 2018

1 reply

Passer with être and avoir

In one of the writing challenges, the sentence "As soon as we passed the door," is translated into French as:

Aussitôt que nous avons passé la porte, 

In reviewing the grammar topic "Passer can be used with avoir or être in Le Passé Composé... and changes meaning," however, I'm having trouble understanding the usage here. The grammar page says that "passer" is used with être for: 

 pass by <somewhere>, go past <something/somewhere>, stop by <somewhere>, pop by <somewhere>

In this case, it seems the sentence is "passing by (somewhere)" or "going past (somewhere)"

For avoir, the examples are = spend <some time>, take <a test or exam> , and pass <something> (to someone), none of which seem to match this sentence.

Can someone please explain why using "avoir" instead of "être" is considered correct in this case?

Thank you!


Kwiziq language super star

22 August 2018


Hi Brad,

In this case it is clear that you pass by something ( the door).  Grammatically this verb has a direct object so you use 'avoir'.

Aussitôt que nous avons passé la porte ... = As soon as we passed by the door...

It is tricky as you would say,

"Nous sommes passés devant la porte."


"We went past the door..."

The door in this case is not the direct object of passer.

It is just a question of grammar rules.

Hope this helps!


Your answer

Login to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

Think you've got all the answers?

Test your French to the CEFR standard

find your French level »
I'll be right with you...