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


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.


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

Annette

Kwiziq community member

12 November 2018

0 replies

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

Donovan

Kwiziq community member

10 November 2018

0 replies

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. 

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 !

Michael

Kwiziq community member

19 February 2018

1 reply

INDIRECT OBJECT pronouns

Chris

Kwiziq community member

19 February 2018

19/02/18

What, specifically, is your question?

-- Chris. 

Joan

Kwiziq community member

30 October 2017

3 replies

A place

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

Ron

Kwiziq community member

2 November 2017

2/11/17

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 )

Chris

Kwiziq community member

2 November 2017

2/11/17

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)

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

6 September 2018

6/09/18

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!

Stevie

Kwiziq community member

22 February 2017

1 reply

"... 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.)

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

10 March 2017

10/03/17

Bonjour Stevie ! That's a good mnemotechnic ! Thank you for sharing! Bonne journée !

Ian

Kwiziq community member

13 January 2017

2 replies

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

Ian

Kwiziq community member

13 January 2017

13/01/17

OOOOPS: Je lui ai rappelé de la faire

Ian

Kwiziq community member

16 January 2017

16/01/17

Bonjour Aurélie, et merci beaucoup
Let me take a look at that...