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.

IntransitiveTransitive
retournerto go backrendreto give something back
revenirto come backrembourserto return money
rentrerto come or go homerapporterto return s.t. to a store
  renvoyer,
retourner
to send s.t. back