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Both sortir and partir are the same in meaning. But what is the difference between these words in particular?

13

Sortir and partir do not have the same meaning.

For example, "je sors de chez moi", or "de la fumée sort de la cheminée", or also "l'accélération est sortie des valeurs limites de sécurité, c'est pourquoi la fusée s'est auto-détruite".

When no object is specified from here, from where the subject is currently should be assumed: "je sors. (d'ici)" or "attention, quand je dévisserai ce bouchon, du liquide va sortir (du réservoir)".

For example, "je pars deux semaines en Espagne cet été", or "Jean a démissionné, il est parti chez un concurrent", or also "Stéphanie est partie ? (de cette réunion)".

  • In certain cases, this is subtle:

Stéphanie est partie ? suggests she left the party, or the meeting, for good

while

Stéphanie est sortie ? suggests this is temporary: she will be back in a while

  • 2
    Another important distinction is that sortir is also used when talking about going out with someone on a date. "Je sors avec cette fille ce soir" – bronxbomber92 Jun 21 '14 at 22:04
  • 1) Both sortir and partir (in the meaning of "to leave") must have an origin point. If it is not specified, "here" is implicitly assumed. 2) A destination may also be specified with sortir , eg. "je sors dans la rue". You speak like if these two characteristics were exclusive of only one of those verbs. – Alan Evangelista Apr 10 at 8:07
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    @AlanEvangelista 1) is wrong actually. "Qu'a-t-elle fait ensuite ? Elle est sortie.". Not from "here", but from where she was. She left the room or the building or anything the context implies. This would have worked with partir too: "Qu'a-t-elle fait ensuite ? Elle est partie.". 2) is right, a destination may be specified with sortir. The answer above doesn't say it cannot. – Shlublu Apr 10 at 20:10
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Sortir is used when the subject leaves a place.

L'oiseau est sorti de son oeuf.

On the contrary, partir is generally used when it implies the destination.

Il est parti en France pour l'été.

We can use partir without a destination. In that case, it will mean that he left for a long moment.

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In English, partir is to depart (or leave). Sortir is to sortie, (or go out of). You can go out of something (e.g. a house) without leaving the general vicinity.

  • "Sortir is to sortie" that doesn't actually help translate. "Sortie" is not an English word. – Aaron Franke Mar 27 at 7:21
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McWhorter, J. PhD Linguistics (Stanford) bruits three meanings unique to sortir, on p. 151 Bottom of Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue (2009).


  How does it sound when it’s French that has one word where English has more, and when it isn’t something as immediately evident as the European know verbs? In French, sortir means “go out,” but also covers what English would express with come out (in the earthquake, le tiroir est sorti de la commode, “the drawer came out of the dresser”), get out (someone is in a hole and says, “Sors-moi d’ici!” “Get me out of here!”), and stick out as in one’s tongue (“Sors la langue,” “Stick out your tongue”).

  • Are you J McWorther or related to him? This way of presenting information is a bit weird, especially since it's twice in a row now. – Najib Idrissi Jul 4 '18 at 17:59
  • No. I wish! Then I'd be much better at linguistics! – Greek - Area 51 Proposal Jul 5 '18 at 4:37
  • The question is about the difference between "sortir" and "partir" in the meaning of "leaving". This answer does not make that clear at all. – Alan Evangelista Apr 10 at 7:37

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