Learn the French Verb To Take

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Confusing French Verbs

The English verb "to take" has several French equivalents, so take a few minutes to learn the difference.

Prendre

Prendre is the general, all-purpose French equivalent of "to take." It is used to talk about taking something from a place or from someone, taking transportation, taking something to eat, taking a size, etc.

J'ai pris son livre sur la table. I took his book from the table.
Prends la main de David. Take David's hand.
Nous allons prendre le train.      We're going to take the train.
Je prends un sandwich, s'il vous plaît. I'll take a sandwich, please.
Il prend une taille 14 en chemise. He takes a size 14 shirt.
Prenez votre temps. Take your time.


Amener

Amener means to take someone or something with you.*
J'ai amené mon frère à la fête. I took my brother to the party
Amenons le chien à la plage. Let's take the dog to the beach.
Il n'a pas amené la voiture. He didn't take the car.
*Note: Amener is part of another set of confusing pairs: Amener, emmener, apporter, emporter.

 

Other equivalents of "to take:"

Accepter To take in the sense of to tolerate or to accept
Il n'acceptera pas un refus. He won't take no for an answer.
Enlever - To take something offoutawa
J'ai enlevé mon chapeau. I took my hat off.
Qui va enlever les chaises? Who will take the chairs away?

Passer un examen To take a test
Il a passé trois examens hier. He took three tests yesterday.

Note that passer is a false cognate here. "To pass a test" = Réussir à un exame

Tirer (familiar) To take in the sense of to steal
Quelqu'un m'a tiré mon portefeuille ! Someone took my wallet!