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How to Render Rendre (or Give It Back!)

The verb rendre is a handy verb to know, especially when you need to give something back, as it means just that, “to give back” or “to return": 


Nous ne sommes pas belliqueux et tout disposés à rendre nos prisonniers.

We're not warlike, and quite willing to give back our prisoners.

Caption 6, Il était une fois: L’Espace 3. La planète verte - Part 7

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Donc c'est l'endroit où tu peux emprunter des livres mais tu dois les rendre ensuite.

So this is the place where you can borrow books, but you have to return them later.

Captions 65-66, Français avec Nelly Les faux amis - Part 1

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But rendre does not just mean “to return” an item to its owner or “to bring back” a person where they belong. It also means “to make” something happen, either good or bad. In the example below, it is something positive, rendre l’air plus sain (making the air healthier): 


Les plantes ont-elles des vertus dépolluantes ? Suffisent-elles à rendre l'air plus sain ?

Plants, do they have depolluting properties? Are they sufficient to make the air healthier?

Captions 1-2, Grand Lille TV Plantes = Air intérieur sain, une idée reçue?

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Or rendre can refer to something negative, as in rendre malade (to make someone sick) or rendre fou (to make/drive someone crazy), as shown in the next two examples:


Ça me rend malade

It makes me sick

Caption 14, Le Jour où tout a basculé J'ai volé pour nourrir mon fils - Part 5

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Mais enfin, c'est pas possible! Ils vont me rendre fou!

But really, this isn't possible! They're going to drive me crazy!

Caption 2, Il était une fois: la vie 6. Les petites plaquettes - Part 5

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Note that although we say “to make” in English, we cannot use faire in instances like this, as explained in this lesson.


Sometimes, rendre is best translated as its English cognate, "to render":


Nous, on va les rendre consommables.

We're going to render them consumable.

Caption 14, Le saviez-vous? La Maison de l'Olive à Nice - Part 2

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Both French and English use the verb rendre/"render" to refer to depicting something artistically. In the video below, the artist "renders" the work in black and white instead of color to achieve a timeless effect:


Notamment pour le rendre aussi le noir et blanc, ça donne quelque chose d'assez intemporel.

Notably to render it also, the black and white gives it something quite timeless.

Captions 104-105, Le saviez-vous? La pratique de dessin de Maxime Duveau

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Rendu, the past participle of rendre, can be used as a noun in an artistic context: un rendu (a rendering).


Le résultat: des tableaux au rendu très naturel

The result: paintings with a very natural rendering

Captions 7-8, Le Mans TV Le Mans: Ouverture d'un nouvel atelier d'artistes

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Rendre can also mean "to render" in a legal context, as in rendre un verdict (to render a verdict):


La justice a rendu son verdict.

The courts have rendered their verdict.

Caption 47, Le Jour où tout a basculé Je me suis fait voler ma musique - Part 7

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The past participle rendu also can be found in the expression service rendu, equivalent to "services rendered" in English. In the example below, we're talking about medical services:


Le Comité économique des produits de santé fixe les prix en fonction de l'amélioration du service médical rendu

The Economic Committee for Medicinal Products sets prices according to the improvement of the medical service rendered

Captions 45-46, France 24 Découvrez le parcours du médicament : Du laboratoire à la pharmacie

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In conclusion, we hope that this lesson vous a rendu service (was helpful to you) and that you discovered some new ways of using rendre. But we have not exhausted the subject yet! There are many other expressions involving rendre, so stay tuned for another lesson. Thank you for reading!


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