Aïe, Sophie, rappelez-moi de ne jamais m'en prendre à votre fiston, sous peine de vous voir vous transformer en aigle qui fond sur sa proie et ...

{vs}: Aïe, Sophie, ça m’apprendra à m'en prendre à votre fiston, sous peine de vous voir vous transformer en aigle qui fond sur sa proie et ...

I always use "ça m’apprendra à ..." ironically in the same vein as "that'll teach me to ..." in English. Also, "ça m’apprendra à ..." is all about a personal faux pas or mistake that you regret committing. So it is like "this is what I get for doing something" with the idea of "getting my just deserts".

I wonder if "rappelez-moi de ne jamais ...", on the other hand, is about having just seen someone else reap what they sowed -- which should then serve as a reminder to you for not making the same blunder as them?

  • In the obvious translation, rappelez-moi de jamais [verb] is the English, remind me to never. So, the question is not really about French. And the other expression is That'll teach me to never. So, why try and make them what they aren't?? The questions you ask here are not about the first meanings of these expressions, either in English or French.
    – Lambie
    Commented Nov 19, 2017 at 19:06
  • @Lambie I seem to notice this in your comments in general, but just because a similar expression with similar usage exists in English doesn't mean that French deals with them exactly the same way. Such an approach would only prevent us from accurately capturing the nuances perceived in other languages. As Cédric points out too, there are certainly some overlapping aspects between these two seemingly different expressions on the surface -- namely that "rappelez-moi" too can take on the "personal regret" aspect with a little paraphrasing. And this is exactly the nuance I was looking for. Commented Nov 20, 2017 at 5:40
  • In this particular case, the meanings of the phrases in both languages are the same. If there were a semantic difference, then, OK. But where there is no semantic differences between the French and English in these two phrases, I personally don't see the point of your question. One could very easily say that in English "Remind me to never" also has "personal regret". These semes are not culture specific in these cases. Part of understanding a language is knowing when there are or there are not these differences.
    – Lambie
    Commented Nov 20, 2017 at 16:26

1 Answer 1


I mostly agree with you, "rappelez-moi de ne jamais [...]" would be for something you did not do and want to make sure you will never do.

"rappelez-moi de ne jamais [...]" and "ça m'apprendra à" are very different expressions.

It is true that "ça m'apprendra à" is definitely for something you did and caused you troubles, and that "rappelez-moi de ne jamais faire ceci" is for something you didn't do and don't want to do; but you could use a variant "rappelez-moi de ne jamais plus faire ceci" for something you did and regret.

So the major difference between these two expressions is rather that with "ça m'apprendra à" you insist on you being taught a lesson by life, while with "rappelez-moi de ne jamais" you are not confident in your ability to remember the lesson and you would like your friends to help you not doing it in the future.

  • Thanks. Regarding your phrasing "Rappelez-moi de ne jamais plus faire ceci", I wonder if it isn't more like "Rappelez-moi de ne plus jamais faire ceci"? Commented Nov 19, 2017 at 9:29
  • Both are valid, "jamais plus" is more "old school" and sounds more refined Commented Nov 19, 2017 at 9:32

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