To Take, To Bring

amener, emmener, apporter, emporter

Apporter, emporter, amener, emmener
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The English verbs "to bring" and "to take" have four French equivalents: amener, emmener, apporter, and emporter. This causes all kinds of confusion, but it really is very simple once you understand the differences.

To bring

The French verbs apporter and amener are used to indicate that you are bringing someone/something with you to the place where you are now.

  • Apporter is only for inanimate things you can carry.
  • Amener is for people, animals, and vehicles.

Par exemple…

J’ai amené mon frère au parc.   I brought my brother to the park.
J’ai apporté mon livre au parc.   I brought my book to the park.

To take

Emporter and emmener are used when you are taking someone/something to a different place than you are right now.

  • Emporter is only for inanimate things you can carry.
  • Emmener is for people, animals, or vehicles.

Par exemple…

J’ai emmené mon frère au parc.   I took my brother to the park.
J’ai emporté mon livre parc.   I took my book to the park.

 En résumé …

  portable object   person-animal-vehicle
to bring   apporter   amener
to take   emporter   emmener

 However …

Despite the actual variations in meaning, amener tends to be used for all of the above in colloquial French. In other words, it’s a good idea to understand the difference between all four verbs, but it may not be required, as French speakers often use only amener. C’est la vie, eh?  🙂

To take back, to take again / To bring back, to bring again

There are four related French verbs: ramener, remmener, rapporter, and remporter, which mean to take back/again or to bring back/again. Note that these are the exact same verbs with the addition of the prefix r, which simply adds the meaning "again" or "back" to the verb. The nuance of people/animals/vehicles vs portable things remains exactly the same.

J’ai ramené Michel chez moi.   I brought Michel back to my house.
J’ai remmené l’étudiant à ses parents.   I took the student back to her parents.
J’ai rapporté le livre.   I brought the book back (or again).
J’ai remporté les biens volés.   I took the stolen goods back.

 Note: Rapporter also belongs to another group of confusable verbs: to return.

LKL’s Top Secret Tips!

Here are my simple tricks for remembering which verb is which:

  • The verbs with -men- within the word (amener, emmener, etc) are the ones that have to be used with people (sorry feminists :-), animals, and vehicles. The ones with -port- are used with portable objects.
  • The ones that start with e- (or re-) mean take, because "take" has an e and "bring" doesn’t.

Verb Conjugations

Stem-changing verbs Regular -er verbs
amener ramener    apporter rapporter
emmener remmener   emporter remporter

 Related lesson

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Apporter, amener, emmener, emporter
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