FR: je serai de retour / je reviendrai

Discussion in 'French and English Grammar / Grammaire française et anglaise' started by contre-jour, Jul 21, 2013.

  1. contre-jour New Member

    Hi All

    I came across this two phrases in a song (Memoria by Indochine).

    May I know what is the difference between "je serai de retour" and "je reviendrai"? In my opinion, both can mean "I will be back" ... both are in the future tense and signify an intention to return in the future. I would really appreciate if someone can point out the nuanced difference between the two. Thanks.

  2. Oddmania

    Oddmania Senior Member


    Neither sounds really natural to me. For instance, if you're talking with a friend and want to tell them "Wait a minute, I'll be right back", most people would say "Attends, je reviens" in the Present tense.

    Je reviendrai in the Future tense sounds like distant future, as in Un jour, je reviendrai or Je te promets que je reviendrai. It amounts to saying I'll come back or possibly I'll be coming back.

    Je serai de retour sounds quite uncommon to me. We usually use the phrase être de retour in the Present tense, as in Je suis de retour! to say It's me, I'm back! Here, I take it as suggesting that the singer is looking ahead to a certain point in time and viewing it as something that is happening.
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2013
  3. OLN

    OLN Senior Member

    Alsace, France
    French - France, ♀
    Bonjour, contre-jour.

    Ces verbes ne sont à priori pas interchangeables : être de retour (être + attribut) décrit un état, revenir une action. L'ordre chronologique est : 1) Je reviendrai (I will come back; I will return) 2) Je serai de retour (I will be back).
    Le mieux serait de nous donner le contexte exact dans lequel ils ont été employés.
  4. SwissPete

    SwissPete Senior Member

    94044 USA
    Français (CH), AE (California)
    There is a famous speech by General of the Army Douglas MacArthur in which he said "I shall return".
    The French version is
    References: here and here.
  5. thestandard Junior Member

    English - Australia
    "Je reviendrai" does not necessarily represent a distant future. One can say "Je reviendrai demain avec un ami" or even "Je reviendrai avec un ami". The difference is that the latter doesn't specify when the person will come back with a friend, it could be tomorrow, in a month's time or in ten years time. "Je reviens" is used in the present because it is almost like saying "I'm coming right back", generally the timeframe is given by the context. For example "J'y vais acheter un sandwich, je reviens". If they are right in front of the sandwhich shop then it is obvious that said person will only be a few minutes.

    "Je suis de retour" to me would translate into English as "I'm back". So respectively I would translate "Je serai de retour" as "I'll be back" (straight from the mouth of Arnie himself). "Je reviendrai" could therefore be translated as "I'll come back". I agree with OLN on this point. "Être de retour" represents the state of being back whereas "Revenir" represents the process of coming back. Very soft but important nuance.

    An example: "Quand je serai de retour à Paris, on dinera tous les deux" as opposed to "Je reviendrai à Paris en mars. On dinera tous les deux alors."
  6. OLN

    OLN Senior Member

    Alsace, France
    French - France, ♀
    Remarque: J'ai trouvé les paroles mal ponctuées de la chanson en question, qui prouvent une fois de plus que le contexte est primordial. Je reviendrai, dynamique,est suivi d'un infinitif qui exprime une intention et ne peut être remplacé par le simple Je serai de retour. On y répète "un jour".
  7. contre-jour New Member

    Merci à tous pour vos réponses. Je crois que j'y comprends bien.

    Je serai de retour is similar to "un jour" which is more of a hypothesis of what may happen.
    Je reviendrai is a firmly stated intention of what is going to happen.

    Thanks again!

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