How would you say something like this in French:

I hope that I can return (or pay back) your kindness (your favor)

7 Answers 7


You could say

J'espère pouvoir te/vous rendre la pareille.

or, more figuratively

J'espère pouvoir te/vous renvoyer l'ascenseur. (= I hope I can send you back the elevator)

  • 7
    Very good answer. As a child I was convinced that the phrase was 'vous rendre l'appareil'. Commented Oct 25, 2017 at 13:03
  • @NicoMezeret I was convinced until now
    – SwissFr
    Commented Oct 27, 2017 at 9:59
  • 1
    @NicoMezeret Well the ascenseur is an appareil, isn't it ? ;-) Commented Oct 30, 2017 at 8:33

You could also say:

Merci ! À charge de revanche !

Meaning you intend to return the favour (= payback, revenge in a positive way).

I wouldn't use this expression with people I don't know or I just met, however, as it implies for me a certain regularity of interactions with the person.

  • 1
    Never heard this before. I would not advise using it, especially if the person if not from France. Commented Oct 25, 2017 at 17:55
  • for a french, it's the best translation.
    – Offirmo
    Commented Oct 25, 2017 at 23:30
  • 1
    French is my mother tongue and I have never heard/read such a saying...
    – BlaB
    Commented Oct 26, 2017 at 11:09
  • Is that maybe a regional phrase ? I am from Belgium, and this sounds very common to me... But I would rather say that BEFORE the service is given. Ex: "j'accepte volontiers l'aide que tu proposes... mais à charge de revanche"
    – Greg
    Commented Oct 26, 2017 at 11:28
  • 1
    @LaurentJalbertSimard It is a bit casual but still used a lot (like, really a lot). There are no downside to using it as far as I know.
    – Turtle
    Commented Oct 26, 2017 at 13:03

Je te revaudrai ça, promis !

Merci. Je vous revaudrai cela sous peu.

... à moins que le locuteur ne cherche à prendre sa revanche !

  • Thank you for your answer and your attention to my question. Commented Nov 2, 2017 at 15:01

In addition to the other answers one could also say:

"J'espère pouvoir vous rendre la politesse"

Which reminds more of the original word, kindness.

  • Thank you for your answer and your attention to my question Commented Nov 2, 2017 at 15:00

I saw two sort of answers that cover the good posibilities for me (as a French guy):


J'espère pouvoir te rendre la pareille.

J'espère pouvoir te renvoyer l'ascenseur. (= I hope I can send you back the elevator)


À charge de revanche !

I think the specifics haven't been pointed out: the first solutions are more serious: if someone helped you when you had serious problems in your life, if someone asked a friend to prefer you for a job.

The second is way more casual, and can be said for example when someone paid for the restaurant. It can also be said by the giver to imply that next time, your friend is paying.

  • Very interesting. Thanks a lot. Commented Oct 30, 2017 at 9:21

"J'espère pouvoir te/vous rendre la pareille"

Or, more casually:

"J'espère pouvoir te/vous renvoyer l'ascenseur"


While other answers are correct, I believe that the most academic way to express the idea of a debt towards a person would involve "redevable".

In Larousse dictionary, "redevable" has two definitions, the first for monetary debt, and the second for a more general meaning : "Qui doit un avantage, une faveur ou, ironiquement, un désavantage à quelqu'un".

As shown by Linguee, "redevable" is often used in political discussions at the European Parliament to express gratitude. For example:

Je vous suis redevable, ainsi qu'aux membres de cette Assemblée, des nombreuses remarques intéressantes qui ont été faites sur le fond.

  • 1
    On est redevable de quelqu'un parce qu’il nous a aidé à faire/obtenir quelque chose d'important, pas pour sa simple gentillesse. C'est intéressant mais c'est très formel et assez en décalage avec la question.
    – Ratbert
    Commented Oct 28, 2017 at 15:28
  • @Gregoire thank you for this academic version. Commented Oct 30, 2017 at 18:17

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