How to Say to Return in French

Young Backpacker Couple At The Airport
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The English verb "to return" has seven (7!) French equivalents: retourner, revenir, rentrer,rendre, rembourser, rapporter, and renvoyer. Of course, this leads to confusion on the part of French students, which I am about to clear up forever.

There are many French equivalents because the English verb is very general and can mean different things - to return to a place, to return an item to the store, etc.

The French verbs are much more precise, so in order to use the correct one, you need to figure out exactly what you want to say.

The first thing to do is decide whether the verb is transitive (requires a direct object [either stated or implied] to complete its meaning) or intransitive (cannot have a direct object).

Here are the seven French equivalents of "return." Click transitive or intransitive for detailed explanations and examples of those verbs.

Intransitive Transitive
retournerto go back rendreto give something back
revenirto come back rembourserto return money
rentrerto come or go home rapporterto return s.t. to a store
   renvoyer,
retourner
to send s.t. back
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Lawless, Laura K. "How to Say to Return in French." ThoughtCo, Sep. 10, 2016, thoughtco.com/how-to-say-return-in-french-4084862. Lawless, Laura K. (2016, September 10). How to Say to Return in French. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/how-to-say-return-in-french-4084862 Lawless, Laura K. "How to Say to Return in French." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/how-to-say-return-in-french-4084862 (accessed September 26, 2017).