Rappeler (à quelqu'un) = to remind (someone)

In French, there are two different structures to express "reminding", depending on whether we mean to be reminded of [something] or to prompt someone to remember [to do something]

Rappeler [quelqu'un/quelque chose] à [quelqu'un] = To remind [someone] of [someone/something]

In English, the sentence goes as follows:

He reminds Maria of her ex.
First comes the person who is reminded, then the person she's reminded of.

BUT 
in French, this order is reversed:

Il rappelle son ex  à Maria.

First comes the person she is reminded of + à + person who is reminded.:

rappeler + person one's reminded of + à + person being reminded

Here are more examples:

Il rappelle son ex à Maria.
He reminds Maria of her ex.

Elle rappelle sa sœur à Alain.
She reminds Alain of his sister.

Ça rappelle son enfance à mon frère.
It reminds my brother of his childhood.

Cette recette rappelle sa grand-mère à Anna.
This recipe reminds Anna of her grandmother.

ATTENTION: 

Where in English, you'd use of (She reminds me of Paula), there will be no preposition in French (Elle me rappelle de Paula)

Noël rappelle toujours de bons souvenirs à ma mère.
Christmas always reminds my mother of good memories.

-> Here de is not a preposition, but the plural article des contracted in de because of the following adjective (See Using ''de / d' '' instead of 'des' in front of adjectives preceding nouns (partitive article))

With object pronouns (He reminds me, you, him...):

You will use indirect object pronouns before rappeler :

me/te/lui/nous/vous/leur rappeler + person one is reminded of 

Cette fille me rappelle une actrice célèbre.
This girl reminds me of a famous actress.

Je vous rappelle votre nounou.
I remind you of your nanny.

Tu lui rappelles son meilleur ami.
You remind her of her best friend.
You remind him of his best friend.

 

Rappeler à [quelqu'un] de [faire quelque chose] = To remind [someone] to [do something]

In this case, the order is similar to English : 

rappeler + à + person being reminded + de + [infinitif]

J'ai rappelé à Paul de faire la vaisselle.
I reminded Paul to do the washing up.

Elle rappellera à son fils de préparer sa valise.
She'll remind her son to pack his suitcase.

With object pronouns (He reminds me, you, him...):

 

You will also use indirect object pronouns before rappeler :

me/te/lui/nous/vous/leur rappeler + de + [infinitif] 

Vous me rappelez de sortir la poubelle.
You remind me to take out the bin.

Il m'a rappelé de faire mes devoirs
He reminded me to do my homework

 

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Elle rappellera à son fils de préparer sa valise.
She'll remind her son to pack his suitcase.


Cette recette rappelle sa grand-mère à Anna.
This recipe reminds Anna of her grandmother.


Ça rappelle son enfance à mon frère.
It reminds my brother of his childhood.


Noël rappelle toujours de bons souvenirs à ma mère.
Christmas always reminds my mother of good memories.


Il rappelle son ex à Maria.
He reminds Maria of her ex.


Elle rappelle sa sœur à Alain.
She reminds Alain of his sister.


to remind


Je vous rappelle votre nounou.
I remind you of your nanny.


Tu lui rappelles son meilleur ami.
You remind her of her best friend.
You remind him of his best friend.


Cette fille me rappelle une actrice célèbre.
This girl reminds me of a famous actress.


to remind (someone) to (do)


J'ai rappelé à Paul de faire la vaisselle.
I reminded Paul to do the washing up.


Il m'a rappelé de faire mes devoirs
He reminded me to do my homework


Vous me rappelez de sortir la poubelle.
You remind me to take out the bin.


Q&A Forum 17 questions, 45 answers

MelisaA2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

I need more help with this, please.

I'm having more trouble with this lesson than any other so far. I just can't seem to grasp it the way it's presented here. If anyone has links to helpful videos to supplement it, I would really appreciate it. 

Asked 1 month ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Melisa, 

If you haven't done so already, please have a look at the Q&A attached to this lesson as this difficult usage of 'rappeler' has caused the same problem to others and this might help you.

I wouldn't worry too much about it as in the context of grammatical difficulties this is a minor issue...

Hope this helps!

 

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

That's a construction with which a lot of people have problems because it is counter to what you'd use in English. It helped me to think of rappeler to mean "to recall to memory".

Il rappelle Anne à Marie. -- "He recalls Anne to the memory of Anne", i.e., He reminds Marie of Anne.

Melisa asked:View original

I need more help with this, please.

I'm having more trouble with this lesson than any other so far. I just can't seem to grasp it the way it's presented here. If anyone has links to helpful videos to supplement it, I would really appreciate it. 

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ChristopherC1Kwiziq community member

Can you help me understand when it is "rappelle" and when it is "rappelles"?

Asked 9 months ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Christophe,

You will use ‘rappelles’ with the ‘tu’ form ( 2nd person singular) -

Tu lui rappelles sa mère = You remind him of his mother

Hope this helps!

CécileKwiziq team member

Hi Christophe,

You will use ‘rappelles’ with the ‘tu’ form ( 2nd person singular) -

Tu lui rappelles sa mère = you remind him of his mother

Hope this helps!

ChristopherC1Kwiziq community member

Bonjour Cecile,

Merci, je crois que je comprends plus mieux maintenant. 

Can you help me understand when it is "rappelle" and when it is "rappelles"?

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BeverleyB2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Complicated or what!!!

It seems I am not the only one to have difficulty with these three concepts using rappeler.  I get it wrong in every A2 kwiz.  I think I need a simpler explanation.  I feel brain-dead with it at the moment, so I'm going to leave it and come back later.  That diamond is going to be elusive!

Asked 10 months ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Marie rappelle ma soeur à ma mère. -- Marie reminds my mother of my sister.

The problem with this construction is that the grammatical roles of the sister and the mother are different in French and English. 

French: Marie recalls my sister to my mother. -- Sister=direct object, mother=indirect object.English: Marie reminds my mother of my sister. -- Mother=direct object, sister=indirect object.

Further confusion usually arises when a personal pronoun is used for one or the other person because in this case the personal pronoun moves to a new place in the sentence, according to the rules of word order for pronouns:

Marie la rappelle à ma mère. -- Marie reminds my mother of her.Marie lui rappelle ma soeur. -- Marie reminds her of my sister.Marie la lui rappelle. -- Marie reminds her of her.

Complicated or what!!!

It seems I am not the only one to have difficulty with these three concepts using rappeler.  I get it wrong in every A2 kwiz.  I think I need a simpler explanation.  I feel brain-dead with it at the moment, so I'm going to leave it and come back later.  That diamond is going to be elusive!

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BillC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Having a really hard time with this lesson

Bonjour - for some reason i'm having a really hard time with this lesson.  My confusion is the fact that the lesson instructs that the order is reversed with reminding someone of someone else, which I understand well enough.

My problem comes in the test, for a perfect example:

"You remind him of Audrey Hepburn" to which the answer is:

Tu lui rappelles Audrey Hepburn

This seems like the exact same order as the English.  Any tips or help would be appreciated.  Merci d'avance.

Asked 10 months ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

You are correct in that in this example the word order is exactly as in English. It is because of "lui" which replaces a named indirect object (e.g., à John). "Lui" always comes before the verb, which makes the word order be the same as in English.

Tu rappelles Audrey Hebpurn à John.Tu lui rappelles Audrey Hepburn.

BillC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

I think i see now - if the indirect object is a pronoun, then it is the same order, but if the indirect object is a proper noun, then the order is different.  I think the lesson is kind of confusing on this point because it begins by saying the order is reversed but then doesn't point out in the next section that the order is the same if you are using an indirect object pronoun.

Merci

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Yes, I agree.

JohannaA2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

I had the same problem with the presentation of this concept 

Having a really hard time with this lesson

Bonjour - for some reason i'm having a really hard time with this lesson.  My confusion is the fact that the lesson instructs that the order is reversed with reminding someone of someone else, which I understand well enough.

My problem comes in the test, for a perfect example:

"You remind him of Audrey Hepburn" to which the answer is:

Tu lui rappelles Audrey Hepburn

This seems like the exact same order as the English.  Any tips or help would be appreciated.  Merci d'avance.

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JohannaA2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

These constructions are REALLY difficult. I would have to use them daily for weeks to keep them straight. The quiz needs many more questions imo.

Asked 11 months ago
AurélieKwiziq team member

Bonjour Johanna !

Following your question, I've now added a few extra questions to this indeed tricky lesson :)

I hope that's helpful!
Bonne journée !

JohannaA2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Merci! J’oublie plus que je m’en souviens. Je suis déprimée :((

These constructions are REALLY difficult. I would have to use them daily for weeks to keep them straight. The quiz needs many more questions imo.

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AnnetteC1Kwiziq community member

Il rappelle son ex à Maria. Alice rappelle ma sœur à moi. J'espere que vous puissiez expliquez comment ils sont différent

Asked 1 year ago
AurélieKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Bonjour Annette !

In the first case, the person being reminded is a proper noun (Maria), so:

Il rappelle son ex à Maria.

In the second case, that person is a pronoun (me), so:

Alice rappelle ma sœur à moi.    ->  Alice me rappelle ma sœur. 

I hope that's helpful!
Bonne journée !

CécileKwiziq team member

Hi Annette ,

Not clear about your question but your second example should be:

Alice me rappelle ma sœur.... = Alice reminds me of my sister 

CécileKwiziq team member

Hi Annette ,

Not clear about your question but your second example should be:

Alice me rappelle ma sœur....

Il rappelle son ex à Maria. Alice rappelle ma sœur à moi. J'espere que vous puissiez expliquez comment ils sont différent

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DonovanB2Kwiziq community member

Imperative construction

One of the test answers is "Rappelle-moi de tout cacher," but I don't see that construction here in the lesson. Since that is probably the most common way I use the word "remind", it would be nice to see how it fits in with the others on this page. 
Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Good point Donovan!

Rappelez-moi de répondre à vos questions = Remind me to answer your questions

Rappelle-nous d'aller chercher les enfants à  l'école = Remind us to pick up the kids from school

Rappelons-nous que notre objectif est une réconciliation = Let's remind ourselves that our aim is a reconciliation

Hope this helps!

Imperative construction

One of the test answers is "Rappelle-moi de tout cacher," but I don't see that construction here in the lesson. Since that is probably the most common way I use the word "remind", it would be nice to see how it fits in with the others on this page. 

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KatrinaA1Kwiziq community member

Vous me ré pelez de sortir la poubelle is in the present. In English remind is only used in the past or future. For example remind me to take out the

bin or you reminded me to take out the bin. There is no present tense. How does this work in french?
Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi katrina, 

Just to add on to what Chris has said , "Remind me to take out the bin" is actually the Imperative present used for requests and commands. 

"Rappelle-moi de sortir la poubelle."

Hope this helps!

 

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Hi Katrina,

You say that in English "to remind" is only used in the past of future but in your example you are using it in the present tense:

Remind me to take out the bin. -- Present tense.
You reminded me to take out the bin. -- Past tense.
You will remind me to take out the bin. -- Future tense.

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

JamieA1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

The best definition I know of tense says only that it is "connected" to the time when something happens. "Remind me to take out the bin" is, grammatically speaking, in the present tense. But it only makes sense semantically as expressing a wish for the future: remind me IN THE FUTURE to take out the bin.

Many confusions like this come from the blurring of syntax and semantics. Tense is purely syntactic.

Vous me ré pelez de sortir la poubelle is in the present. In English remind is only used in the past or future. For example remind me to take out the

bin or you reminded me to take out the bin. There is no present tense. How does this work in french?

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AnnC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Si “Paul rappelle son frère à Sarah” veut dire Paul reminds Sarah of HER brother, comment dirait-t-on: Paul reminds Sarah of HIS brother? Merci en ava

of HER brother, comment on dirait "Paul reminds Sarah of HIS brother?
Asked 1 year ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

No difference in French. "Son" can mean "his" or "her".

Chris (not a native speaker).

AnnC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Right. so how does a person know which one the speaker means???
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

From context. Or you could explicitly say, "le frère de Sarah" or "le frère de Paul". 

-- Chris. 

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

From context. Or you could explicitly say, "le frère de Sarah" or "le frère de Paul". 

-- Chris. 

AnnC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
So one just assumes the son refers to the person following unless stated as le frère de Paul?
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

I don't know that one assumes this. Either is possible. In my understanding, only context can tell. It's just like in English when you say, "I'll let you know." There simply is no way to tell whether you are speaking to a si gle person or a group, except context. 

-- Chris. 

AlanC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

The closest equivalent in English would be:

"Paul reminds Steven of his brother."

This might seem ambiguous, but I think most people would assume it's Steven's brother, because that's the closest antecedent to the pronoun. If it were Paul's brother you'd probably rewrite the sentence to make that clear.

I don't know whether a native French speaker would think that Ann's example was completely ambiguous, or whether one interpretation is more likely.

Si “Paul rappelle son frère à Sarah” veut dire Paul reminds Sarah of HER brother, comment dirait-t-on: Paul reminds Sarah of HIS brother? Merci en ava

of HER brother, comment on dirait "Paul reminds Sarah of HIS brother?

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CrystalMaidenC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

I'm marked diamond even though I still can't wrap my head around the word order reversion of " Il rappelle son ex à Maria, elle rappelle sa soeur à Al

I'm marked diamond even though I still can't wrap my head around the word order reversion of " Il rappelle son ex à Maria, elle rappelle sa soeur à Alain... "
Asked 1 year ago
CrystalMaidenC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Ran into the character limit that sucks, so I could barely type the question and had to redo it. Point is, I'm not tested on what I actually need to learn about.
GruffKwiziq team member
Hi thanks for letting us know about this. I checked and I can see the issue here. We'll increase the number of questions which do seem far too few for a topic of this complexity.
DonnaB2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

I couldn't get this one either. When I was trying to use "to remind," it always sounded like I was saying something completely different (i.e., "He reminds her ex of Maria"). 

Then I used "looks like" instead. Suddenly, it made sense. So far, it seems to work! ("He looks like her ex to Maria"). 

I'm marked diamond even though I still can't wrap my head around the word order reversion of " Il rappelle son ex à Maria, elle rappelle sa soeur à Al

I'm marked diamond even though I still can't wrap my head around the word order reversion of " Il rappelle son ex à Maria, elle rappelle sa soeur à Alain... "

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BarbaraC1Kwiziq community member

Notre cousine me te rappelle. ou Je vous la rappelle. Ces phrases sont correctes?

Asked 1 year ago
AurélieKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Bonjour Barbara !

Actually, that's a very interesting question :)

Your first sentence is definitely incorrect, and the second one would be used to remind someone of something feminine (une règle, une loi...), but not a person.

To express "to remind [someone] of [me, him, you...]", you'll prefer to use "faire penser à + [stress pronouns]" (Literally: make think of), used as follows:

Tu me fais penser à lui.
Elle me fait penser à toi au même âge.

I hope that's helpful!

Bonne journée !

Notre cousine me te rappelle. ou Je vous la rappelle. Ces phrases sont correctes?

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MichaelC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

INDIRECT OBJECT pronouns

Asked 1 year ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

What, specifically, is your question?

-- Chris. 

INDIRECT OBJECT pronouns

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JoanC1Kwiziq community member

A place

I checked with reverso.com, and they have Cette falaise me rappelle de Douvres (place). Not just Douvres. How come?
Asked 2 years ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Joan,

Sorry about the delay in answering your question...

'Cette falaise me rappelle Douvres'  is correct .

As to Chris' suggestion for,

'This reminds me of something',

the only possibility is:

Cela me rappelle quelque chose

You could say:

Je me rappelle (de) quelque chose

Je me souviens de quelque chose 

for,  'I remember something'

Hope this helps!

RonC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Bonsoir Joan, So I ran the phrase «This cliff reminds me of Dover» through google translate as well as the translator on the Collins-Robert and neither used «de» in the English to French translation. Might I suggest that the translation provided by reverso.com might be better explained by contacting reverso. J'espère que ma réponse vous aiderait. Bonne chance et bonne continuation dans vos études en français, la langue de Molière et qui a été utilisé par le monde français depuis l’époque d’Hugues Capet Ron (un locuteur non natif )
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
There are three ways to say "This reminds me of something." 1) Cela me souvient de quelque chose. 2) Cela me rappelle de quelque chose. 3) Cela me rappelle quelque chose. As you can see, rappeler works with and without "de". However, souvenir requires "de". -- Chris. (not a native speaker)
JohannaA2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

A little off topic but why did you use cela  instead of ça in that answer?

CécileKwiziq team member

No particular reason, Johanna, I was probably feeling 'formal'....you can say both but in written form,  'cela' always sound better than 'ça'.

A place

I checked with reverso.com, and they have Cette falaise me rappelle de Douvres (place). Not just Douvres. How come?

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StevieC1Kwiziq community member

"... calls to mind ..."

The "Il rappelle son ex à Maria" construction is like the formal English "calls to mind". Here, "He calls to mind her ex to Maria". (That would be bad English, but it's how I remember the word order.)
Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team member
Bonjour Stevie ! That's a good mnemotechnic ! Thank you for sharing! Bonne journée !

"... calls to mind ..."

The "Il rappelle son ex à Maria" construction is like the formal English "calls to mind". Here, "He calls to mind her ex to Maria". (That would be bad English, but it's how I remember the word order.)

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IanC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

On peut dire. J'ai lui rappelé de la faire ?

Asked 2 years ago
IanC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
OOOOPS: Je lui ai rappelé de la faire
IanC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Bonjour Aurélie, et merci beaucoup

On peut dire. J'ai lui rappelé de la faire ?

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Susan C1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Similarly: why is it, tu me rapelles ma mère, and not, de ma mère?

Asked 3 years ago
LauraKwiziq team member
Because the French structure is different: there's no preposition in front of the thing being remembered.
Susan C1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Then why, Cette fille me rappelle une actrice célèbre?
Susan C1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Same thing?
LauraKwiziq team member
Tu me rapelles ma mère - "You remind me of my mother." There's no equivalent for "of" in French. Cette fille me rappelle une actrice célèbre - "This girl reminds me of a famous actress." Same thing.

Similarly: why is it, tu me rapelles ma mère, and not, de ma mère?

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Susan C1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

What are the rules as to when to use, "à," "de," or nothing?

Asked 3 years ago
LauraKwiziq team member
Bonjour Susan, This is the construction: rappeler à quelqu'un de faire quelque chose. So you use à in front of the person being reminded, and de in front of the infinitive.
Susan C1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Simple, now. Thanks.

What are the rules as to when to use, "à," "de," or nothing?

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