In French, the passé compose is a compound verb tense, meaning it has two parts: an auxiliary verb and a past participle. French has two auxiliary verbs, avoir or être, and most main verbs use avoir. Memorize the following short list of verbs, which refer to coming and going (both literally and figuratively) that use être:

  • aller (to go)

  • arriver (to arrive)

  • descendre (to descend )

  • entrer (to enter )

  • monter (to climb)

  • mourir (to die)

  • naître (to be born)

  • partir (to leave)

  • passer (to pass [by, in front of, behind] )

  • rester (to stay )

  • retourner (to return)

  • sortir (to go out )

  • tomber (to fall )

  • venir (to come)

In addition, pronominal verbs use être: je me suis levé (I got up.)