Welcome back! We’ve got another French verb for you to study. This time, our word of the week is laisser.
First of all, you’ll need to know how to pronounce it. Have a listen to the audio clip below:
After looking at the word and sounding it out, do you recognise it in English? You might already know the common English expression laissez-faire, a term borrowed from French that we sometimes use to describe an approach where you just let something play out, without trying to control it. While this is not the only translation, in a similar vein, the direct translation of the verb laisser is to let or to leave.
As for its conjugation, laisser follows a regular -er pattern in every tense. Visit our Easy Learning French Grammar section to find pages on regular conjugation of -er verbs in the present indicative, present subjunctive and imperfect tense.
Now let’s see how we might use this verb:
Elle a laissé son chapeau dans le train. She left her hat on the train.
Laisse tomber ! Forget about it! or Drop it!
Je suis fatiguée. Laissez-moi tranquille. I’m tired. Leave me alone.
Tu me laisseras à l’aéroport demain matin ? Will you drop me off at the airport tomorrow morning?
Laissez du pain pour le repas s’il vous plaît. Leave some bread for the meal please.
laisser à l’abandon to neglect
laisser du temps to leave time; to allow some time
In the examples above, sometimes we see the 3rd person singular form of present tenses. It’s spelled like laisse. But when you see this in other contexts, it might in fact be a feminine noun.
une/la laisse leash; lead
tenir en laisse to keep on a lead/leash
Nous tenons notre chien en laisse, il est trop agressif. We keep our dog on a leash, he’s too aggressive.
You might also see the reflexive verb, se laisser. It means to let oneself [do] something. To add the detail of what you’re letting yourself do, in most cases, you’ll see se laisser followed by another infinitive verb. Let’s take a look at some examples of this:
se laisser faire to allow yourself or let something happen to yourself
Ne te laisse pas persuader par l’argent ! C’est un travail très difficile. Don’t let yourself be persuaded by the money! It’s a really difficult job.
We hope to see you again next week for another French word. Until then, you can let yourself have a little break and leave the learning until next time – you’ve earned it.
Written by Holly Tarbet, freelance copywriter and editor.
All opinions expressed on this blog are those of the individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or policies of Collins, or its parent company, HarperCollins.