Expressing "to leave" with partir/laisser/quitter/sortir in French

In French, depending on context, you use one of these four verbs to express to leavepartirlaisserquitter  or sortir.

How to express "to leave" in French

 

Here's how to use each of them correctly:

Partir

- partir means to leave / to go away.

You can use it on its own (I leave = Je pars).
When you use it with a place, it is always followed by a preposition (I leave from / for ... = Je pars de / pour ...).
Je pars de cette ville.I'm leaving this town.

Elle part tous les jours à six heures.She leaves every day at six.

Special case: 
It's very colloquial to say partir en vacances for to go on holiday:

Cette année, nous partons en vacances en hiver.This year, we're going (away) on holiday in the winter.

Sortir

sortir means to go/come out.
When used with de, as in sortir de + [place], it can express the idea of leaving [somewhere], in the sense of going/coming out of a place.
Je sors de la maison.I'm going out of the house.  
(I'm leaving the house.)

Nous sortons juste du métro.We're just coming out of the metro.
(We're just leaving the metro.)

Quitter

- quitter generally means to leave a place / somewhere. You cannot use it on its own: it always needs an object.
Je quitte cette ville pour de bon.I'm leaving this town for good.

Elle a dû quitter le cours plus tôt aujourd'hui.She had to leave the class earlier today.

Quitter is also the only one you can use to mean leaving someone for good (i.e. to break up with someone).
Elle quitte Patrick pour quelqu'un d'autre.She's leaving Patrick for someone else.

Je ne te quitterai jamais !I will never leave you!

ATTENTION:
In the context of work, quitter can have two meanings. Like in English, it can mean to quit a job for good, but it can also simply mean leaving one's place of work (on that day).
- Il a enfin quitté son travail !
- Tant mieux pour lui !
- He finally quit his job!
- Good for him!

En général, il quitte le travail vers 18h.Generally, he leaves work around 6pm.

Laisser

- laisser means to leave something / to let. You cannot use it on its own. However, this one is NOT used for places, only to leave people or things in places.
Je laisse ma fille à l'école.I'm leaving my daughter at school.

Tu laisses la porte ouverte tous les soirs.You leave the door open every evening.

J'ai laissé mon chien chez ma mère pour le weekend.I left my dog at my mother's house for the weekend.

 

Grammar Jargon:   
partir 
is an intransitive verb, whereas quitter and laisser are always transitive verbs (i.e. have a direct object) and sortir can be either.

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Examples and resources

Je suis parti tôt ce soir.I left early tonight.
Vous êtes sortis de la pièce avant nous.You came out of the room before us.  
(You left the room before us.)
J'ai laissé mon chien chez ma mère pour le weekend.I left my dog at my mother's house for the weekend.
Nous sortons juste du métro.We're just coming out of the metro.
(We're just leaving the metro.)
- Il a enfin quitté son travail !
- Tant mieux pour lui !
- He finally quit his job!
- Good for him!
Je sors de la maison.I'm going out of the house.  
(I'm leaving the house.)
En général, il quitte le travail vers 18h.Generally, he leaves work around 6pm.
Elle a dû quitter le cours plus tôt aujourd'hui.She had to leave the class earlier today.
Je quitte cette ville pour de bon.I'm leaving this town for good.
Je ne te quitterai jamais !I will never leave you!
Tu laisses la porte ouverte tous les soirs.You leave the door open every evening.
Nous avons laissé les passeports dans la voiture !We left the passports in the car!
Je laisse ma fille à l'école.I'm leaving my daughter at school.
Elle quitte Patrick pour quelqu'un d'autre.She's leaving Patrick for someone else.
Nous allons partir de Paris.We are going to leave from Paris.
Je pars de cette ville.I'm leaving this town.
Cette année, nous partons en vacances en hiver.This year, we're going (away) on holiday in the winter.
Elle part tous les jours à six heures.She leaves every day at six.
Je vais laisser mes clés sur la table.I'm going to leave my keys on the table.
I'll be right with you...