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

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


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


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.


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

Christopher

Kwiziq community member

19 February 2019

3 replies

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

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

27 February 2019

27/02/19

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!

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

27 February 2019

27/02/19

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!

Christopher

Kwiziq community member

27 February 2019

27/02/19

Bonjour Cecile,

Merci, je crois que je comprends plus mieux maintenant. 

Beverley

Kwiziq community member

18 January 2019

1 reply

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!

Chris

Kwiziq community member

21 January 2019

21/01/19

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.

Bill

Kwiziq community member

26 December 2018

4 replies

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.

Chris

Kwiziq community member

26 December 2018

26/12/18

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.

Bill

Kwiziq community member

27 December 2018

27/12/18

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

Chris

Kwiziq community member

27 December 2018

27/12/18

Yes, I agree.

Johanna

Kwiziq community member

31 December 2018

31/12/18

I had the same problem with the presentation of this concept 

Johanna

Kwiziq community member

27 November 2018

2 replies

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.

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

27 November 2018

27/11/18

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 !

Johanna

Kwiziq community member

27 November 2018

27/11/18

Merci! J’oublie plus que je m’en souviens. Je suis déprimée :((

Annette

Kwiziq community member

12 November 2018

3 replies

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

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

20 November 2018

20/11/18

Hi Annette ,

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

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

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

20 November 2018

20/11/18

Hi Annette ,

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

Alice me rappelle ma sœur....

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

27 November 2018

27/11/18

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 !

Donovan

Kwiziq community member

10 November 2018

1 reply

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. 

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

20 November 2018

20/11/18

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!

Katrina

Kwiziq community member

16 May 2018

3 replies

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?

Chris

Kwiziq community member

16 May 2018

16/05/18

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).

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

16 May 2018

16/05/18

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!

 

Jamie

Kwiziq community member

28 July 2018

28/07/18

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.

Ann

Kwiziq community member

3 May 2018

7 replies

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?

Chris

Kwiziq community member

4 May 2018

4/05/18

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

Chris (not a native speaker).

Ann

Kwiziq community member

4 May 2018

4/05/18

Right. so how does a person know which one the speaker means???

Chris

Kwiziq community member

4 May 2018

4/05/18

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

-- Chris. 

Chris

Kwiziq community member

4 May 2018

4/05/18

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

-- Chris. 

Ann

Kwiziq community member

4 May 2018

4/05/18

So one just assumes the son refers to the person following unless stated as le frère de Paul?

Chris

Kwiziq community member

5 May 2018

5/05/18

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. 

Alan

Kwiziq community member

5 May 2018

5/05/18

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.

CrystalMaiden

Kwiziq community member

27 April 2018

3 replies

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... "

CrystalMaiden

Kwiziq community member

27 April 2018

27/04/18

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.

Gruff

Kwiziq language super star

27 April 2018

27/04/18

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.

Donna

Kwiziq community member

29 July 2018

29/07/18

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"). 

Barbara

Kwiziq community member

7 March 2018

1 reply

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

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

7 March 2018

7/03/18

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 !

Clever stuff underway!