Je savais que je gagnais à être connue.

My guess: « Les gens en sont venus à m’aimer de plus en plus à mesure qu'ils me connaissaient et appréciaient mes qualités. »

If I’m on the right track here... What I find interesting and puzzling is that it is « je » who « gagne à être connue » rather than « les gens / on » being the ones who « gagnent à me connaître ».

Je savais qu’on gagnais à me connaître (mieux).

3 Answers 3


The structure « gagner à » can be applied with a lot of words and expressions. « gagner à [quelque chose]» means to benefit from something. You can for instance say

Le vin gagne à vieillir

Which means that the wine will get better by getting older

As a result, when someone says « je gagne à être connu », it means that he will benefit from being better known. Someone who is making a bad impression at first glance, despite being a valuable person, is someone who « gagne à être connu ». He will improve upon acquaintance.

  • Are you sure to mean "deserve" ? I don't see the link with "gagner à...", it means "to benefit from something", that's it. Jan 3, 2017 at 18:01
  • In my view, two sentences like "ce petit cinéma gagne à être connu" and "ce petit cinéma mérite d'être connu" are equivalent. That's why I chose "deserve". But I think I see your point, I'll try to find something else.
    – Nico
    Jan 3, 2017 at 18:41

(I made an edit, read it first) I don't think it's idiomatic, at least not the whole expression.

"Être connu" means "to be famous/well known" , and "gagner à [qq chose]" means "to benefit from [something]".

You can say "gagner à" with anything (same for "être connu"), even though it's a little formal.

You can't say "Je savais bien qu’on gagnais à me connaître". "Je suis connu" and "*on me connaît" are not equivalent, when "connu" means "famous", it's used as an adjective. For the same reason, "je suis perdu" and "on me perd" do not mean the same thing at all.

(btw I'd like to have context for this sentence if you have it, I can't really translate right know. Are you talking about selling a book or being known by your colleagues ?)

EDIT : According to these sources from the Wiktionary (Gagner (see 17), gagner à être connu) the expression seems to 1. be idiomatic and specific to the pair "gagner à" and "connu" 2. means "to deserve to be better known".

However, note that:

  • the page about "gagner" doesn't explicitly say it should be used only with "connu"
  • it's colloquial (familier)
  • it's not an absolute truth, and the specific part about that expression are kind of poor in content. I wouldn't see them as completely reliable, but it should be better than my general feeling about what I think I know about that expression.

Still, I've only seen it used for places, like restaurants, independant movie theaters, or for an author, a novel, a series, etc. I wouldn't use it for people, in a way unrelated to fame.

The part about the inversion still holds, I wouldn't say "Je savais qu’on gagnais à me connaître (mieux)." (at least, not meaning "deserve")

  • Hi ! His interlocutor says: "So, (as it has turned out) you are much more frivolous than I thought you were". Then, the speaker responds ironically: "I'm glad to see that you've finally got to know the real me". Jan 3, 2017 at 18:46
  • @Ahalone-zee Wait, they weren't speaking in English initially, were they ? If you translated you may have shifted from the original a little. (You said "my guess: ..." so I assume you had to translate and you weren't so sure) Jan 3, 2017 at 18:56
  • It is actually a French subtitle for the English sentences I just wrote. As you can see, the original English sentence is not translated literally here, so I had to make an informed guess about its meaning. :) Anyway, I assume that the speaker says this sentence rather ironically. Jan 3, 2017 at 19:07
  • @Ahalone-zee Well I'm confused, I don't really see how the French expression would mean what you want, but I don't really get the first sentence (in English). Saying that ironically means that he didn't really get to know him ? Or that he's not glad ? Anyway I'd go for something closer to the English, like "Je suis content que vous commenciez à me connaître vraiment" Jan 3, 2017 at 19:36
  • Your guess is as good as mine, as it's all up to the translator to decide what he really means by this French sentence! (ha-ha) I'm just as confused as you are. Jan 3, 2017 at 19:41

Gagner = Rejoindre la 'position' de ...

position sociale, position géographique ...

Here the verb "gagner à être" is meaning "to have talent in suffisance to pretend behing a famous person". This expression is to the appreciation of anyone who formulates it.

  • It can mean this in some contexts, but not in the sentence discussed here. Jan 3, 2017 at 22:19
  • What is the expected result of being known?
    – user12449
    Jan 3, 2017 at 22:26
  • It is not specified. The expression only means that one would benefit from knowing the person. Jan 3, 2017 at 22:35
  • I do not think so. It is indeed the subject of the sentence which gains to be known.
    – user12449
    Jan 3, 2017 at 22:50

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.