Learn How to Conjugate "Rentrer" (to Return) in French

A Quick Lesson in Conjugating a Useful French Verb

Mother and daughter hugging at the airport with father in background
A mother and daughter reunite. Westend61 / Getty Images

The French verb rentrer means "to return." It is a rather easy word to remember, just don't get it confused with "to rent," which is the verb louer. French students will be happy to know that rentrer is a regular -er verb, which makes memorizing the conjugations a little easier.

This lesson will show you how to conjugate this useful verb into the most common present, past, and future tenses.

How to Conjugate Rentrer​​

French verbs need to be conjugated in order to match the tense and subject of your subject.

Just as we add -ing and -ed endings to English verbs, we need to change the endings of French verbs as we move from one tense to another. The good news is that rentrer is a regular -er verb, the most common conjugation pattern in French.

Using this chart, you can study the most basic conjugations for rentrer and commit them to memory. These are the indicative mood forms and you will simply pair the subject pronoun with the appropriate tense in order to complete a sentence. For instance, "I am returning" in the present tense is je rentre and in the imperfect past tense, "we returned" is nous rentrions.

Practicing these words in context using short sentences can help you memorize them.

 Present Future Imperfect

Rentrer and the Present Participle

The present participle of rentrer is rentrant.

This is formed by adding -ant to the verb stem rentr. Beyond the verb usage, it can also be used as an adjective, gerund, or noun in certain contexts.

Rentrer in the Past Tense

The passé composé is one of the more common ways to express verbs in the past tense and you may use it more often than the imperfect.

To form this short expression, you will need the auxiliary verb être and the verb's past participle rentré.

The construction comes together quite quickly. For example, "I returned" is j suis rentré and "we returned" is nous sommes rentré. Notice how the conjugation of être used here is actually the present tense. That's because the past participle indicates that the action took place in the past.

More Conjugations of Rentrer

Among other common conjugations of rentrer that you may need to know are the subjunctive verb mood and the conditional verb mood. Each of these gives some uncertainty to the action of returning.

Used with less frequency, it's also a good idea to be able to identify the passé simple and the imperfect subjunctive forms. These are primarily used in formal French, particularly in literature.

 SubjunctiveConditionalPassé SimpleImperfect Subjunctive

The imperative verb mood is used for short, direct commands and requests. When using it, skip the subject pronoun: rather than tu rentre, simplify it to rentre.

(nous) rentrons