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Comment s'en sortir avec sortie

When you want to exit a building, look for a sign that says Sortie (Exit). Based on the past participle of the verb sortir (to go out), la sortie is a very versatile word that can be used in many different ways, both literally and figuratively.


As mentioned earlier, la sortie refers to “the exit” of a building. The studio in the video below has several sorties, which may explain André’s wife’s mysterious disappearance:


Ah ben... parce qu'il y a d'autres sorties...

Oh, well... because there are other exits... 

Caption 24, Le Jour où tout a basculé Ma femme est-elle réellement morte ? - Part 2

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Just as in English, you can combine sortie with faire (to make): faire sa sortie (to make one's exit), like singers and superstars do.


Voici comment toutes les grandes superstars font leur sortie.

Here's how all the big superstars make their exit.

Captions 64-65, Extr@ Ep. 5 - Une étoile est née - Part 3

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Speaking of singers, we also use the word sortie to talk about an album release:


Sortie de l'album le vingt-sept février deux mille douze

Album release February twenty-seventh, two thousand twelve

Caption 1, Boulbar New York, 6 heures du matin

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Sortie is also a verb form meaning "released." In this case, it's the feminine past participle of the verb sortir (to be released). Remember that sortir belongs to the small group of verbs that go with the auxiliary être and take agreement in the past tense. In the video below, sortie agrees with the feminine noun chanson (song):


Cette chanson est sortie en deux mille onze.

This song was released in two thousand eleven.

Caption 134, Français avec Nelly 12 Songs to Improve Your French - Part 1

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It’s not just songs or movies that can be released. People can too! In the example below, it’s a prisoner who is being freed.


Dès sa sortie de prison, Brice contacte Enzo.

As soon as he is released from prison, Brice contacts Enzo.

Caption 1, Le Jour où tout a basculé À la recherche de mon père - Part 9

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The recently released prisoner would no longer need permission for chaque sortie (each outing), unlike French residents during the early COVID pandemic:


Il faut signer une attestation, surtout attester de chaque sortie.

You have to sign a certificate, above all register every outing.

Captions 54-55, Lionel L La pandémie

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As for poor Barbara, she has to beg her mother for la permission de sortie:


Il fallait passer par d'interminables négociations pour obtenir la permission de sortie.

I had to go through endless negotiations to obtain permission to go out.

Captions 26-27, Mère & Fille La soirée

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Unlike Barbara, our former prisoner is free to enjoy être de sortie (being out and about), like the people in this Christine and the Queens song:


Nous et la "man", on est de sortie

We and the man, we are out and about

Caption 25, Christine and the Queens Christine

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Être de sortie can also just mean “to be out,” as opposed to being home:


J'aurais pu refuser et prétexter que j'étais de sortie

I could've refused on the pretext that I was out

Caption 72, Le Jour où tout a basculé Ma mère fait tout pour briser mon couple - Part 5

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Interestingly, when sortie is preceded by the definite article la (the), as in à la sortie, the phrase usually signals the end of an activity:


À la sortie, cette idée semble avoir été abandonnée

In the end, they seem to have abandoned this idea

Caption 6, Le Journal Enseigner l'Holocauste en classe

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À la sortie de la séance, certains n'en reviennent toujours pas.

At the end of the showing, some still can't believe it.

Caption 27, Le Journal Les Ch'tis

 Play Caption de me les communiquer à la sortie du conseil de classe.

...and communicate them to me at the end of the teachers' conference.

Captions 54-55, Mère & Fille Le coup de téléphone

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However, note the subtlety here. La sortie des classes doesn’t just mean the end of classes, but also when classes are dismissed:


Ça tombe juste pendant la sortie des classes.

That falls right when classes are dismissed.

Caption 23, Le Jour où tout a basculé Ma mère fait tout pour briser mon couple - Part 3

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And watch out: in a different context, une sortie de classe is a "field trip" or "school trip," like the one Barbara is going on: 


Les sorties de classe, c'est l'occasion de découvrir des choses nouvelles

Class field trips are an opportunity to discover new things

Caption 1, Mère & Fille La sortie de classe

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Here are some other uses of the noun sortie. This one is straightforward: à la sortie du four means “out of the oven."


...pour que les manneles à la sortie du four, ils aient une belle croûte. that the mannele out of the oven have a beautiful crust.

Caption 62, Alsace 20 Grain de Sel: le Lycée hôtelier Alexandre Dumas

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In the next example, however, the meaning is not so obvious. Remember earlier when we talked about la sortie d’un album? This time, la sortie sort of means the opposite: "the phaseout" or "the end of an era":


Tu crois que pour toi ça symbolise la sortie du nucléaire, là ?

Do you think this symbolizes the phaseout of nuclear energy for you?

Caption 75, Actus Quartier Manif anti-nucléaire à Bastille

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Another less common meaning of sortie is “output” in an industrial context, as in la sortie de l’électricité:


Dans les batteries, on a des contacteurs qui coupent la sortie de l'électricité

In the batteries, we have contactors that shut off the electricity output

Captions 64-65, Bateau sport 100% électrique Le Nautique 196 E

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And in a commercial context, we have l'entrée et sortie de marchandises


...logiciels informatiques pour gérer tout ce qui est entrée et sortie de marchandises. 

...computing software to manage everything that is about the entry and departure of goods.

Captions 33-34, GO! Formations Présentation du centre

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Indeed, sortie can mean “departure,” as in to leave a place or depart. In the video below, la sortie refers to the time the couple left the hotel:


Au moment de leur sortie, eh bien, cette carte avait disparu.

At the time of their departure, well, this card had gone missing.

Captions 88-89, Le Jour où tout a basculé À l'audience - Arnaque en couple ? - Part 6

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In some cases, sortie doesn’t just mean “departure,” but “quitting,” as in giving up:


C'est-à-dire les différentes épisodes de sortie, ensuite, les envies, et cetera, correspondent en tout point à ce que nous vivons avec...des patients qui fument...

That is, the different quitting episodes, then the cravings, et cetera, correspond point by point with what we experience with...patients who smoke...

Captions 157-160, Le Figaro Elle a banni le sucre pendant un an - Part 2

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So far, we’ve explored many ways of using the word sortie, and like Sacha in the video below, you may be wondering comment vous allez vous en sortir (how you’re going to manage):


Oh là là là là, comment vont-ils s'en sortir ?

Oh dear, how are they going to manage?

Caption 10, Extr@ Ep. 6 - Le jour du loto - Part 1

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Just keep in mind that the main meanings of sortie are “exit," "departure," and "outing." However, pay close attention to context to interpret the less common uses of sortie. And remember that Yabla videos are at your disposal pour vous aider à vous en sortir (to help you cope). Thanks for reading!


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Morning and Evening: Matin/soir vs. matinée/soirée

In our last lesson, we discussed the differences in meaning between the two ways of saying "day" in French, le jour and la journée. The masculine term jour refers to a specific moment in time, or a unit of time with an emphasis on quantity, while its feminine counterpart journée emphasizes quality, content, and duration. We also mentioned that there were other words pairs, namely matin/matinée (morning), soir/soirée (evening), and an/année (year), that work similarly. 




In this lesson, we will focus on the word pairs soir/soirée and matin/matinée.


Like jour (day), matin (morning) and soir (evening/night) indicate a point in time. You can use them to specify the time of day, as in six heures du matin (six o’clock in the morning).


To clarify whether it’s morning or afternoon on the twelve-hour clock, simply add du matin (in the morning) and du soir (in the evening) to the time:


New York, six heures du matin

New York, six o'clock in the morning

Caption 2, Boulbar New York, 6 heures du matin

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(Du matin is equivalent to “a.m.” and du soir is equivalent to “p.m.”).


You can also combine matin/soir with other time expressions, as in le lendemain matin/le lendemain soir (the next morning/evening):


Le lendemain matin, Jean-Paul est rongé par la culpabilité.

The next morning, Jean-Paul is consumed with guilt.

Caption 1, Le Jour où tout a basculé Mon histoire d'amour est impossible - Part 6

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Similarly, you can pair matin/soir with hier (yesterday). In the example below, we have hier soir (last night): 


T'étais où hier soir?

Where were you last night?

Caption 42, Le Jour où tout a basculé J'ai volé pour nourrir mon fils - Part 7

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The nouns le soir and le matin aren't necessarily accompanied by an adverb of time. They can be used on their own to indicate a time of day. In the example below, the restaurant owner explains how many people typically come for lunch or dinner:


Cinquante personnes le midi, cinquante personnes le soir

Fifty people at noon, fifty people in the evening

Captions 31-32, Christian Le Squer Je ne fais que goûter!

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In the example below, Elisa and Mashal discuss what they usually have for breakfast, and Elisa is surprised to hear that Mashal likes to eat a slice of chicken le matin (in the morning).


Le matin? -Ouais. Une tranche de poulet le matin?

In the morning? -Yeah. A slice of chicken in the morning?

Captions 5-6, Elisa et Mashal Petit-déjeuner

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Unlike in English, you don't need a preposition in French to say "in the evening/in the morning." You can simply say le soir/le matin (in the evening/morning). 


When the time is less specific or crucial, and the emphasis is on what happened during that time, it’s better to use the feminine version dans la matinée/soirée (in the morning/evening). This time, the preposition dans (in) is included.


Let’s look at what Alexandre and Sophie were doing dans la soirée (in the evening) in the example below. What matters most is what happened during the evening—Alexandre calling Sophie:


Dans la soirée, Alexandre appelle Sophie.

In the evening, Alexandre calls Sophie.

Caption 7, Le Jour où tout a basculé J'ai piégé mon fan - Part 3

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In the next example, Alexandre calls Sophie at a different time: en fin de matinée (in the late morning). Since timing is approximate, we use matinée


Alex, l'agent de Sophie, m'a appelée en fin de matinée.

Alex, Sophie's agent, called me in the late morning.

Caption 15, Le Jour où tout a basculé J'ai piégé mon fan - Part 6

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You can substitute matinée (morning) with soirée (evening) here: en fin de soirée (in the late evening).


When estimating how long it might take to perform a task, use the suffix -ée to indicate duration. In the example below, the person needs la matinée (the whole morning or the better part of the morning) to do her shopping:


Je vais faire des courses. J'en ai pour la matinée.

I'm going to do some shopping. I'll be out for the morning.

Caption 2, Le Jour où tout a basculé Mon histoire d'amour est impossible - Part 6

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When describing how much you can accomplish in the span of a morning, you say dans une matinée (in a morning). Watch the video below to find out how many madeleines this amazing baker makes dans une matinée (in a morning):


Mais vous, tout seul, dans une matinée, vous faites combien de madeleines?

But you by yourself, how many madeleines do you make in a morning?

Caption 53, Lionel L'usine de madeleines de Liverdun - Part 2

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Unlike the baker in the example above, the lady in the video below decides to prendre la matinée (take the morning off):


Elle a pris sa matinée aujourd'hui.

She took her morning off today.

Caption 41, Le Jour où tout a basculé J'ai volé pour nourrir mon fils - Part 5

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Taking the morning off is a great opportunity to faire la grasse matinée (to sleep in; literally, "to do the fat morning"). That is precisely what the animal in this funny zoo recommends doing while on holiday:


Pas question. Vacances égalent grasse matinée.

Out of the question. Vacations equal sleeping in.

Caption 33, Les zooriginaux Repos corsé - Part 3

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And if you’re in the mood, you can watch a matinée performance. Une matinée can stretch into an early afternoon, the start of the day for very late risers.


For evening people, how you spend la soirée (the evening) is more important. In the video below, Cinderella was having such a good night out that la soirée (the evening) flew by:


Avec la musique et la danse, la soirée passa comme dans un rêve.

With the music and the dancing, the evening passed like in a dream.

Captions 21-22, Contes de fées Cendrillon - Part 2

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Elisa and Mashal also remember a memorable evening, cette soirée (that evening), as they look at old photos:


C'est vrai. Je me rappelle de cette soirée.

That's true. I remember that evening.

Caption 53, Elisa et Mashal Photos

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If it had been a formal event, une soirée (a soirée), Elisa and Mashal might have worn une robe de soirée (an evening gown). 


On the other hand, une robe de soirée (an evening gown) would not be appropriate for a job interview, as Mashal jokingly points out:


On va pas se ramener, euh... -Avec une robe de soirée, quoi.

We're not going to show up, uh... -In an evening gown, right?

Caption 67, Elisa et Mashal CV

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In any case, it’s always good form to wish someone bonne soirée (have a good evening) when parting ways, and save bonsoir (good evening) for the beginning of the evening, as it’s a greeting.


Now that we’ve explored soir/soirée (evening) and matin/matinée (morning), we’re ready to tackle an/année (year) in a future and final lesson.


French Object Pronouns - Part 2 - Indirect Object Pronouns

French Objects Pronouns - Part 1


As we mentioned in our last lesson, a direct object is a noun that receives the action of a verb (such as "the ball" in "I throw the ball"). On the other hand, an indirect object indicates to whom or for whom the action is done (such as "my friend" in "I throw the ball to my friend"). Just as direct object pronouns replace direct objects (e.g. "I throw it to my friend"), indirect object pronouns replace indirect objects ("I throw the ball to him/her"). There are six indirect object pronouns in French: 

me (to me)              nous (to us)
te (to you)               vous (to you)
lui (to him/her)        leur (to them)

In French, an indirect object pronoun usually replaces "à (to) + a person." Unlike direct object pronouns, which can refer to either people or things, indirect object pronouns only refer to people.

Je jette le ballon à mon amie. / Je lui jette le ballon.
I throw the ball to my friend. / I throw her the ball [or "I throw the ball to her"].

The following example contains a mixture of direct and indirect pronouns. How did the speaker know when to use which? 

Il m'a dit: "Je le garde". Ben, je lui ai dit:

He told me, "I'm keeping it." Well, I told him,

"Écoutez, expliquez aux quatre cents personnes..."

"Listen, explain to the four hundred people..."

Caption 24, Actu Vingtième - Vendanges parisiennes

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It all depends on whether the verb in question would normally be followed by the preposition à. Garder isn't followed by à: you would say garder quelque chose (to keep something), but never garder à quelque chose. If you watch the video, you'll know from context that the speaker is referring to le fromage (cheese). So instead of saying je garde le fromage, he uses the direct object pronoun le (je le garde). On the other hand, you would say dire à quelqu'un (to tell someone), but never dire quelqu'un. Because of that à, the speaker knows to use the indirect objects me and lui

Here are some other examples of indirect object pronouns in action:


Si la nuit me parle

If the night speaks to me

De souvenirs passés

About past memories

Captions 3-4, Boulbar - New York, 6 heures du matin

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Mais je te donne plus que des mots

But I give you more than words

Caption 12, Corneille - Comme un fils

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Et là, je leur ai envoyé une petite nouvelle...

And here, I sent them a little short story...

Caption 86, Claudine Thibout Pivert - 2ème Salon du livre et des vieux papiers Mazamet

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We know these are indirect object pronouns because they all replace "à + person" in the verbal expressions parler à quelqu'un (to speak to someone), donner à quelqu'un (to give to someone), and envoyer à quelqu'un (to send to someone).


As you learned in our last lesson, when a direct object pronoun is followed by a verb in the past tense (passé composé), the past participle needs to agree in number and gender with the direct object pronoun. On the other hand, you don't have to worry about agreement in the passé composé with indirect object pronouns. That's why you have je leur ai envoyé in the example above and not je leur ai envoyés or je leur ai envoyées


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