I wonder if I can use "retrieved" instead of "regained" in the sentence below. Are they similar in a sense of "getting again" or "recovering"?

The national heritage was left disassembled for ten years, but after a long conservation process, it regained its original shape.

2 Answers 2


Retrieve would sound odd there, to my ear; because retrieve is mostly used of material things, or of information; whereas regain is almost always used of abstracts (such as a shape).


There is a difference.

When you say that the heritage retrieved its original shape, you are implying that the heritage is an active agent that causes the original shape to be restored.

When you say it regained its original shape, you are not implying this. Rather, the heritage can be the object of external actions that result in its original shape being restored.

Since most would not regard the heritage as being an active agent, you should use the word regained here.

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