Less common verbs that sometimes use avoir and sometimes use être

These verbs, like those in the previous section, can take either avoir or être. But they're not particularly common verbs. (For example, you probably won't come across them at GCSE and certainly won't need them.) Anyway, if you're still interested, eyes down...


This verb isn't terribly common but means to rush up, run up. It can take avoir or être, with a slight tendancy (a quick Google search suggests a 60:40 split) towards être. Thomas reports a difference in meaning but I don't think this is terribly clear from the examples I've seen. The difference may be historic; Price denies any difference in meaning, stating:

"With two verbs only, viz. accourir 'to run, rush (up)' and apparaître 'to appear, come to light', either avoir or être may be used with no difference in meaning" (sec 452)


This verb, meaning to appear is reasonably common and usually (a Google search suggests predominantly) takes être. But avoir is sometimes used.


This is a slightly formal verb that isn't terribly common. It basically means the same as rester, and takes être.

la ville est demeurée française
the town has remained French
Feedback Suggest a change / proposez une modification

The verb can also be used with the sense of to live, dwell and in this sense takes avoir:

il a demeuré à Lyon pendant plusieurs années
he spent several years living in Lyon
Feedback Suggest a change / proposez une modification


This verb isn't very common but means "to hatch (out)" (as in chickens and eggs) or "to break" (as in the day). Judging by a Google search, avoir seems more common than être; this contradicts Thomas:

"Eclore prend ordinairement l'auxiliaire être [...] mais on rencontre parfois avoir" (p. 141)


This variant of venir, in the phrase parvenir à, is sometimes used to mean 'to come to' in a figurative sense. Its perfect tense is formed with être:

ils sont parvenus à un accord
they have come to an agreement
Feedback Suggest a change / proposez une modification


This verb means 'to give birth' and can take either avoir or être to make the perfect tense, but avoir appears to predominate.


This verb means "to go out of date" (in the sense of a ticket) or, in the construction échoir à, "to fall to" (in the sense of win or inherit). In both senses, the verb seems to take predominantly être (a quick Google search suggests a 5:1 occurrence). However, in a phrase such as mon billet est échu, there is obviously some ambiguity between échu as an adjective meaning "expired" and a échu as a strict perfect tense expressing the action of expiring.

Incidentally, this is the verb behind the common phrase le cas échéant meaning "if need be".


This fairly rare verb means 'to decline (in quality or estimation)'. It is commented (Thomas, p. 117) that avoir is used to express the action of declining and être the state of decline. A Google search suggests that in practice the verb is predominantly used with être.


This verb, meaning 'to die of natural causes, pass away', usually takes avoir. To suggest a recent death, être is sometimes used.


This verb is used with either avoir or être, with a slight difference of emphasis:

il en est résulté que...
the result was/is that...
il en a résulté que...
the result was that...
Feedback Suggest a change / proposez une modification


This is a very rare verb meaning 'to happen, come to pass'. About the only perfect tense use of this verb would be the phrase il est advenu que... ("it came to pass that..."). But, as you see, it is formed with être.

 French grammar index
 French-English dictionary
 English-French dictionary

This page written by Neil Coffey. Copyright © Javamex UK 2017. All rights reserved.