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Amener, Emmener, Apporter, Emporter

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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.

Apporter can only be used with things you can carry, whereas amener has to be used with people, animals, and vehicles.

J'ai amené mon frère à la fête. I brought my brother to the party.
J'ai apporté mon livre à la fête. I brought my book to the party.

 
To take

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

Emporter is for things you can carry, while emmener is for people, animals, or vehicles.

J'ai emmené mon frère à la fête. I took my brother to the party.
J'ai emporté mon livre à la fête. I took my book to the party.

 
Summary

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

 
Important note

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, but it may not be required, as French speakers may use only amener. C'est la vie, eh?  :-)

  
To Take/Bring Back/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 letter r at the beginning. The r 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 Luc chez moi. I brought Luc back to my house.
J'ai rapporté le livre. I brought the book back (or again).
Il a remmené la fille à ses parents. He took the girl back to her parents.
Il a remporté les biens volés. He took the stolen goods back.

Note: Rapporter is also part of another group of confusable verbs - to return

  
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 have to be 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

Amener/Ramener    Apporter/Rapporter
Emmener/Remmener   Emporter/Remporter
(stem-changing verbs) (regular -er verbs)

  

Test on amener, emener...

Other confusing French pairs

Verb Conjugations     French Dictionaries

  

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