I’m interested in the verb rendre today, for no good reason other than that I never seem to be able to remember what it means. Unlike most of the words that we talk about on this blog, rendre is actually pretty high-frequency. Its basic meaning is “to give back.” I saw it recently in an adorable video in which this young French guy talks about his cat: “I love my cat, et il sait me le rendre–and he knows how to give it back to me.” (The camera then cuts to footage of the cat puking on the floor. I think the young guy is actually a professional comedian, but can’t swear to it. His YouTube channel has 6.5 million followers, in any case.)
Perhaps part of the reason that I can’t seem to remember the basic meaning of rendre is that it has so many other meanings. Let’s look at a couple of useful ones:
- rendre visite a qqn: to visit someone. It’s important not to confuse rendre visite with:
- visiter: to visit (a place). Of course, I confuse these constantly.
- rendre qqn fou: to make someone crazy.