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All about Prendre

Learn all about the irregular French verb prendre


Prendre, which means "to take," is one of the most common French verbs. It is irregular in conjugation and is found in a number of idiomatic expressions.

Using prendre

Prendre usually means "to take," both literally and figuratively:

   Il m'a pris par le bras
   He took me by the arm

   Tu peux le prendre dans le tiroir
   You can take it out of the drawer

   Je vais prendre une photo
   I'm going to take a picture

   Prenez votre temps
   Take your time

Prendre has a number of other meanings as well:

1. to come over, strike

   La colère m'a pris
   I was overcome with anger

   Qu'est-ce qui te prend ? (informal)
   What's come over you? What's the matter with you?

2. to catch

   Je l'ai pris à tricher
   I caught him cheating

3. to take in, dupe, fool

   On ne m'y prendra plus !
   They won't fool me again!

4. to handle, deal with

   Il y a plusieurs moyens de prendre le problème
   There are several ways to deal with the problem

5. to set

   Le ciment n'a pas encore pris
   The cement hasn't set yet

6. to do well, catch on, be successful

   Ce livre va prendre
   This book is going to be a great success

7. to catch, start

   J'espère que le bois va prendre
   I hope the wood catches on fire

Prendre can also mean "to pick up" or "to fetch," especially when used with another verb:

   Passe me prendre à midi
   Come (by and) pick me up at noon

   Peux-tu me prendre demain ?
   Can you pick me up tomorrow?

Se prendre

Se prendre has several possible meanings as well:

1. to consider oneself

   Il se prend pour un expert
   He thinks he's an expert

2. to get caught, trapped

   Ma manche s'est prise dans la porte
   My sleeve got caught in the door

3. s'en prendre à - to blame, challenge, attack

   Tu ne peux t'en prendre qu'à toi-même
   You've only got yourself to blame

   Il s'en est pris à son chien
   He took it out on his dog

4. s'y prendre à - to do something about it

   Il faut s'y prendre
   We have to do something about it, We have to take care of it

Expressions with prendre

   prendre sa retraite - to retire

   prendre une décision - to make a decision

   prendre un pot (informal) - to have a drink

   Qu'est-ce qui t'a pris ? - What's gotten into you?

More expressions with prendre

Present tense conjugations

je prends
tu prends
il prend
nous prenons
vous prenez
ils prennent

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