The four verbs: amener, emmener, apporter et emporter refer to movements, but they have a different meaning.
Let's first look at the difference between the verb "Apporter" and "Emporter". First, you need to know that we're going to use these verbs with objects. We don't use them to talk about living things.
“Apporter” means to take something, an object from a point A to a point B. And this object, we are going to leave it at point B. We don't take it back with us.
If you look at the word "apporter", you see that inside it is the verb "porter" (=to carry). "J'apporte quelque chose" = I carry this thing to a place with it.
Quand j’apporte : I carry an object when I go somewhere.
Je vais chez mon frère. J’apporte une bouteille de vin.
I take this bottle from my house, I take it in my car and when I get to my brother's house, I give it to him. = J’apporte une bouteille de vin à mon frère.
J’ai oublié le sel dans la cuisine, tu peux me l’apporter s’il te plait ?
The salt is in another room and I ask someone to take it, to come to me and give it to me. The person will carry the salt and come to me. Elle m’apporte le sel.
“Emporter” means to take something, an object, from a place and to leave this place with the object, to keep it with you.
Again, if you look at the word “emporter”, you also see that there is the verb “porter” (=to carry). J’emporte quelque chose = I leave a place and I carry this thing, this object with me.
Quand j’emporte : I start from a place by taking an object.
J’ai faim, on prend des pizzas à emporter ?
"Les pizzas à emporter" are prepared in a pizzeria, I go to the pizzeria, get the pizzas and take them with me. I leave the place with the pizzas.
Il ne se sépare jamais de sa guitare. Il l’emporte même en vacances.
He leaves a place, his home, to go on vacation and he takes his guitar with him. He does not separate himself from his guitar.
Let's move on to the difference between “amener” and “emmener”. Unlike “apporter” and “emporter”, we will use the verbs “amener” and “emmener” with living beings, humans or animals.
“Amener” means going from point A with someone and leaving that person at point B and going back alone, without that person.
If you observe the verb “amener”, you see that inside, there is the verb “mener”. “Mener” has several meanings and can mean “aller vers”, "diriger" (= to lead to)
Quand tu amènes quelqu’un, you go somewhere with this person and you leave alone.
J’amène mes enfants à l’école.
I leave home with my children (this is point A), we go to school (this is point B). The children remain at the school and I leave = J’amène mes enfants à l’école.
Mon père m’amène à l’aéroport.
I have to go to the airport. My father picks me up and goes with me to the airport. I stay at the airport and my dad leaves.
I stay at point B, at the airport, but my father does not stay there.
“Emmener” means to leave from a point A to go to another place, a point B with someone and to stay at that place with that person.
Observe the verb “emmener” and you also see that inside, there is the verb “mener” which means “aller vers”, "diriger" (=to lead to)
When you take someone, you go to a point B with that person and you stay there.
Emmène-moi à Paris.
I ask someone to go with me to Paris and that person stays in Paris with me.
J’emmène mon chien chez le vétérinaire.
I take my dog with me and we go to the vet. I don't leave him alone, I come and stay with him at the vet.
Before I give you the mnemonic tips, a great way to remember the difference between these 4 words is to practice them.
We are going to practice these 4 words in my conversation group, Ohlala French Coffee. Our topic of conversation will be travel and means of transportation, which will give us the opportunity to practice these 4 words so that we don't make any more mistakes.
French Coffee is perfect if you want to express yourself more naturally in French, have the opportunity to practice your French a lot and have a teacher who answers all your questions.
We have seen the difference between these 4 words and now I am going to give you some mnemonic tricks to distinguish these words and especially to know which one to use when you speak.
So, we have seen that in the words “apporter” and “emporter”, there is the verb “porter” (=to carry). So, we already know that we are going to talk about objects.
In the words “amener” and “emmener”, there is the verb “mener” which means “aller vers”, “diriger” (=to lead to). Then you know you're talking about someone.
My tip for differentiating them:
“Apporter” begins with the letter A like the English word “Alone”. Quand j’apporte quelque chose, I arrive with an object, but I leave alone.
For example : I'm going to a friend's house and I want to give him a box. I'm not going to leave with this box, so je l’apporte à mon ami.
In the same way, “Amener” begins with the letter A like the English word“Alone”. Quand j’amène quelqu’un quelque part, I come with him or her, but I leave again alone.
For example: If I drive my mother to her friend's house, I will not stay with her at her friend's house, I will go back alone so je l’amène chez son amie.
For verbs “emporter” and “emmener”, both start with the sound “en” like in the word “ensemble” (=together)
For example : I go to my friends' houses and take the leftovers with me. I don't leave alone, I leave with the leftovers, we leave together (with the leftovers). So, j’emporte les restes.
For example : If I go to the movies with my boyfriend, I drive him and we both watch the movie. We go to the movies together. So, je l’emmène au cinéma.
Ok, now that you know everything, let's see if you understand. We are going to do some exercises with the verbs “apporter”, “emporter”, “amener” and “emmener”.
Complete the following sentences between the verbs “apporter”, “emporter”, “amener” and “emmener” :
- Je vais au cirque avec les enfants, ce soir. Je les ________ .
Le docteur ne trouve pas le dossier de ce patient, tu peux me l’_______ s’il te plait.
Tu n’as pas l’air en forme ? Je t’_______ chez le docteur. Tu ne peux pas t’y rendre seul.
Vous allez manger sur place ou à _______ ?
N’oublie pas d’_______ ta crème solaire en vacances !
_______-moi mon téléphone comme tu es debout s’il te plait !
Je dois aller à la gare, tu peux m’__________ ?
Si je gagne au loto, je t’_________ aux Bahamas.
- Je vais au cirque avec les enfants, ce soir. Je les emmène .
Le docteur ne trouve pas le dossier de ce patient, tu peux me l’apporter s’il te plait.
Tu n’as pas l’air en forme ? Je t’emmène chez le docteur. Tu ne peux pas t’y rendre seul.
Vous allez manger sur place ou à emporter ?
N’oublie pas d’emporter ta crème solaire en vacances !
Apporte-moi mon téléphone comme tu es debout s’il te plait !
Je dois aller à la gare, tu peux m’amener ?
Si je gagne au loto, je t’emmène aux Bahamas.