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Rentrer can be used with avoir or être in Le Passé Composé... and changes meaning

Most verbs use either avoir or être as the auxiliary verb in le Passé Composé (or other compound tense)but rentrer uses both, depending on what it means in the sentence*.

être + rentré

to go/come in(to)
= to go/come back in(to)
= to go/come/get home

Je suis rentré de vacances tard hier soir.
I came back from holiday late yesterday evening.

Vous êtes rentrés dans la pharmacie à six heures.
You came into the pharmacy at six o'clock.

Quand tu es rentré dans la pièce, elle n'était plus là.
When you came back into the room, she was gone.

 

Notice that in each case where être is the auxilliary, the verb rentrer is followed by a preposition (en, sur, dans, à, etc.)Therefore, in these cases rentrer is usually about going or coming back in or into, going or coming home, going or coming in or into. 

(See also Agreeing past participle with subject's gender and number with (+ être) verbs in Le Passé Composé)

avoir + rentré <quelque chose>

to take/bring/get <something> back inside

J'ai rentré le linge une fois qu'il était sec.
I took the laundry back inside once it was dry.

Vous avez rentré les meubles de jardin à cause de la pluie.
You brought the garden furniture inside because of the rain.

 

When rentrer is followed immediately by a noun (as opposed to a preposition), it uses avoir as the auxiliary, like most verbs.  
 
 
It can be very tricky to get the distinction here if you think in terms of what rentrer means in English (English verbs are very often 'prepositional', meaning we say things like "to go back into a house" as well as "reenter a house" which are equivalent in meaning but grammatically very different - English verbs very often have prepositions where they don't in French!).  
 
  
*Note for grammar nerds: the technical grammatical distinction between these cases is actually whether the transitive or intransitive version of the verb is used. The transitive version (the version with a direct object) uses avoir.  The intransitive version, lacking a direct object, uses être.
 
 

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Je suis rentré de vacances tard hier soir.
I came back from holiday late yesterday evening.


Vous avez rentré les meubles de jardin à cause de la pluie.
You brought the garden furniture inside because of the rain.


J'ai rentré le linge une fois qu'il était sec.
I took the laundry back inside once it was dry.


Quand tu es rentré dans la pièce, elle n'était plus là.
When you came back into the room, she was gone.


Vous êtes rentrés dans la pharmacie à six heures.
You came into the pharmacy at six o'clock.


Micro kwiz: Rentrer can be used with avoir or être in Le Passé Composé... and changes meaning
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Q&A

Nataly

Kwiziq community member

5 March 2018

3 replies

With être, rentré gets a letter S in the plural sentence, but not with avoir. Is it a rule?

Chris

Kwiziq community member

5 March 2018

5/03/18

Yes, this is a rule. With être the participle is accorded in gender and number to the subject. 



Alex est rentré tard. 


Susanne est rentrée tard. 


Susanne et Marie sont rentrées tard. 


Susanne et Alex sont rentrés tard. 



-- Chris (not a native speaker). 

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

5 March 2018

5/03/18

Bonjour Nataly !


To complete Chris's answer, here's a link to our lesson related to the agreement of the past participle (here rentré) with auxiliary être.


https://progress.lawlessfrench.com/revision/grammar/agree-past-participle-with-subjects-gender-and-number-with-etre-verbs-in-le-passe-compose-conversational-past


Note that in some specific cases, you might also agree with the auxiliary avoir, as explained in that more advanced lesson :)


https://progress.lawlessfrench.com/revision/grammar/special-cases-when-the-past-participle-agrees-in-number-and-gender-when-used-with-avoir-in-le-passe-compose-conversational-past


I hope that's helpful!
Bonne journée !

Nataly

Kwiziq community member

5 March 2018

5/03/18

"Vous êtes rentrés" and "Vous avez rentré"

Doraida

Kwiziq community member

30 October 2016

1 reply

My answer was wrong, but when you give the meaning of "rentrer avec avoir"

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

2 November 2016

2/11/16

Bonjour Doraida !

If you're reporting on a specific question, you need to use the "report" button next to it in your Correction Board, so I can see it and be able to help you :)
Could you clarify your enquiry here, please?

merci et à bientôt !
Clever stuff underway!