Is there a lesson that helps us to understand the distinction between each of these three verbs (revenir, rentrer, retourner) and when one is used versus the other?
Retourner -- to go back to a place, where the speaker is not located. When used transitively (i.e., with a direct object, it means to return something, e.g., an ill-fitting garment)Revenir -- to go back to a place where the speaker is.Rentrer -- to go go back "home".
Marc a oublié son porte-monnaie au restaurant. Il va y retourner pour le retrouver. -- Marc forgot his wallet at the restaurant. He will go back there to get it.
Ce pull ne me va pas du tout. Je le retourne tout de suite. -- That sweater doesn't fit me at all. I'll return it immediately.
Mon amie est partie. Elle reviendra demain. -- My friend has left. She will come back tomorrow.
Je viens de rentrer. -- I just got back home.
Thank you, Chris, for your answer. It is very helpful,
as always. However, I also saw this:
Retourner never means to return (something) in the context of a shop for example.
In French, we use rapporter (to bring back) or échanger
[quelque chose] instead:
Elle a rapporté cette jupe
comme elle était trop petite. She returned this skirt as it
was too small.
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