As I understand it, both of these mean "to leave" but there must be some subtle differences. Can anyone tell me what they are and when you would use one over the other?

2 Answers 2


One not subtle but major difference is that the verb conger doesn't exist...

I guess you are thinking about the expression prendre congé de ... which is a formal way to say dire au revoir et quitter quelqu'un. e.g.:

Je dois partir. (I have to go)

Je dois vous quitter. (I have to leave you)

Je dois prendre congé de vous. (I have to take leave of you)

Unlike quitter, prendre congé is almost only used when referring to people leaving other people.

  • 4
    Although this answer is fine, I think it might be improved in adding nuance : I don't think "partir" and "prendre congé" are freely interchangeable. My guess would be that "partir" has a broader scope and convey the meaning of "going from somewhere" while "prendre congé" can only be employed in "(temporarily) being absent from somewhere". E.g. I don't think "le train prend congé à 13h" would fit well. Commented Jun 18, 2020 at 7:03
  • 2
    @JeremyGrand Le train prend congé à 13 h is indeed not idiomatic at all. Answer updated to make clear prendre congé scope is narrower.
    – jlliagre
    Commented Jun 18, 2020 at 7:45
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    The English equivalent of prendre congé would be to take your leave which is also formal and bordering on the archaic.
    – terdon
    Commented Jun 18, 2020 at 8:31
  • @terdon Thanks for the link, answer updated..
    – jlliagre
    Commented Jun 18, 2020 at 10:30
  • as a side note, 'Congé' is also used for time off / holidays, but this is quite old French. I was born in 1972 and spent my kid years in France. The word 'congé' already sounded old at the time.
    – Thomas
    Commented Jun 18, 2020 at 18:45

No natif speaker but the verb 'conger' does not exist as far as I know. You can find information about the word 'congé' (I guess you confused the noun 'congé' with the possible past participle of the fictitious "verb" 'conger' which as I said does not exist) below:

Analyzing the usage of partir goes beyond the scope of a simple FSE's answer. The only possible related construction that I can think of is

prendre congé : Faire les adieux qu’exige la politesse avant de partir.

See, for instance, https://fr.wiktionary.org/wiki/prendre_cong%C3%A9

There is also the related verb congédier.

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