Is renverser equally good or better for implying "turn upside down"?

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David

Kwiziq community member

23 July 2018

5 replies

Is renverser equally good or better for implying "turn upside down"?

This relates to:
Retourner can be used with avoir or être in Le Passé Composé... and changes meaning -

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

27 July 2018

27/07/18

Hi David,

The verb renverser has many different meanings in French  including to tilt, to spill, to knock down (in a car), to turn roundto invert, to overthrow...

The lesson here is concentrating on the different meanings of 'retourner' whether you use 'avoir' or 'être'.

Hope this helps!

David

Kwiziq community member

27 July 2018

27/07/18

Thank you, Cécile.

I agree as far the lesson goes, but in real life could I use either word equally to mean "turn upside down" or is renverser inappropriate for some cases. I first learned renverser but since  retourner is confusing due to its double usage I would rather avoid it. 

E.g. "J'ai retourné le sablier" or "j'ai renversé le sablier" for "I inverted the hourglass".

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

27 July 2018

27/07/18

Unfortunately, if you say, "J'ai renversé le sablier", we hear:

"I knocked the egg timer over",

so no, you can't interchange the two verbs.

Bonne continuation!

 

David

Kwiziq community member

27 July 2018

27/07/18

Thank you Cécile.

That is the really hard part about learning languages, even my native English - what is the right word to use in each situation.

Tom

Kwiziq community member

30 July 2018

30/07/18

That's very interesting, got me thinking since I, like you David,  would habitually use renverser in this situation.

Harraps French/English dictionary gives a meaning of "renverser" as "to turn upside down", equivalent to "retourner exprès"

Collins/Robert treats it similarly : "to turn upside down" equivalent, "mettre à l'envers" and provides a sample usage: "renverser un seau - to turn a bucket upside down"

Finaly L'Académie française 9e édition.

2. Mettre à l'envers, retourner ; basculer dans la position contraire à celle qui est habituelle ou qui précède. Renverser une barque quille en l'air pour la réparer. Couvrir un plat d'une assiette renversée. 

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