I was wondering in terms of collocation and word choice, how a French speaker use these verbs.
Would someone explain the difference between the verbs "Retirer", "Enlever" and "Supprimer" in contexts ?
French Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for students, teachers, and linguists wanting to discuss the finer points of the French language. It only takes a minute to sign up.Sign up to join this community
ôter are very much interchangeable, the later being a bit old and some expressions commanding more one than the other. They all imply that what you remove still exists but is put somewhere else.
supprimer implies the destruction of the element removed.
retire tes vêtements,
enlève tes vêtements,
ôte tes vêtements are equivalent and can be used in real life...
supprime tes vêtements can only be used when erasing clothes with photoshop on a selfie, or when making a final decision to become a full time nudist.
enlever is preferred when you lift the thing you remove:
enlever une voiture (tow a car away) because in France, the police use trucks with a crane for this.
retirer is preferred when you pull something back, for example when playing bridge, if you take a card back into your hand after putting it down. You can also use
reprendre for this particular case. It can be used figuratively as in
je retire ce que j'ai dit (I take that back)
In many cases, the 3 verbs +"oter" are synonyms. For example, from a list of names, you may indifferently "Oter, retirer, enlever ou supprimer un nom de la liste", i.e. remove one name from the list.
There are nuances in some of these verbs usage:
Those 3 verbs have roughly the same meaning. There are some nuances though :