RENTRER versus SORTIR in French



We know that rentrer is to go in and sortir out. Literally “RENTRER” means to enter again (RE+ENTRER) and “SORTIR” to go out, but it’s more complex than that.

A.    Talking about any place

1.     To go (back) in / to come (back) in

Les enfants rentrez, il fait froid dehors.
Children come (back) in, it’s cold outside.
Children go (back) inside, it’s cold outside.

  • In French we use the verb “rentrer” in both case. We understand according to the context.

Tu veux rentrer dans le magasin ?
Do you want to enter the shop ?

  • Here we should use “entrer” because it’s the first time the person goes to this shop, but we frequently use “rentrer” as well as “entrer” in this case.

+ When someone is knocking at the door you don’t say “rentrez”. You say :

Come in!

2.     To get out

Sors de ma chambre, je dois travailler.
Get out of my room, I have to work.

B.     Talking about home

1.     To go back home / to come back home

Je te conseille de rentrer, il est tard.
I advise you to go back home, it’s late.

Je suis rentré à 22heures hier.
I came back home at 10 pm yesterday.

We don’t need to precise “home” in French. If you are outside and you use the verb “rentrer” we know that you are talking about home.

2.     To go out

On sort au restaurant ce soir ?
We go out for dinner tonight ?