Tag Archives: Friday’s French; when to use amener and emmener; difference between amener and apporter

Friday’s French – amener, emmener, apporter

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Viens ! Je t’emmène à la Tour Eiffel. Apporte des sandwichs, nous pouvons faire un pique-nique sur place. J’amènerai ma cousine avec moi.

Come on! I’ll take you to the Eiffel Tower. Bring some sandwiches – we can have a picnic there. I’ll bring my cousin with me.

Ce bus vous emmènera jusqu'à la Tour Eiffel
Ce bus vous emmènera jusqu’à la Tour Eiffel

Now before we go any further, I’d just like to mention that the differences between these three verbs in French can be very subtle. Also, in English “bring” and “take” are not always used correctly e.g. “bring me the ball” but not “take me the ball”. “He took me to the cinema” and not “he brought me to the cinema”.

Emmener is fairly simple and corresponds to “take” used correctly in English:

Le bus vous emmènera jusqu’à la Tour Eiffel = The bus will take you to the Eiffel Tower

Je vous emmène dîner au restaurant = I shall take you out to eat

Il a emmené un livre dans sa chambre = He took a book to his room.

Amener and apporter are a diffcrent kettle of fish.

Apporter is used in the following cases:

N’oubliez pas d’apporter vos CD = Don’t forget to bring your CDs.

Un jeune homme a apporté ces fleurs = A young man brought these flowers.

Je vous apporte des bonnes nouvelles = I have some good news for you (literally I’m bringing you some good news).

Il doit nous apporter des preuves = He has to bring us proof.

Cette réforme apportera des changements = This reform will bring changes.

What do you notice about all the above sentences (taken straight out of my Larousse French dictionary, I might add)? They all refer to things such as CDs, flowers, proof, changes and sandwiches, and not people.

If people are involved, then amener must be used and not apporter.

Amenez votre ami à la maison = Bring your friend home

Dites-moi ce qui vous amène = Tell me what brought you.

Ce bus vous amène à la gare = This bus takes you to the station.

I can hear you jumping up and down! What about the other bus, the one that takes you to the Eiffel Tower? Ce bus vous emmènera jusqu’à la Tour Eiffel. All I can say is that if there is a difference, it’s so subtle that you won’t ever have to worry about it!

Most of the other uses of amener correspond to the idea of provoking a result.

Cette crise économique risque d’amener des problèmes sociaux = This economic crisis could cause social problems.

Amener l’eau à ébullition = Bring water to the boil.

Il a amené la conversation sur le problème de chomage = He steered the conversation towards the problem of unemployment.

Vous nous avez amené le beau temps = You brought us the good weather.

You might wonder with this last one why you wouldn’t say Vous nous avez apporté le beau temps. It’s because you can’t literally bring good weather the way you can with sandwiches, but cause the good weather to happen.

I wrote this post at the request of a reader so will be interested to know whether it has helped!

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