I am not sure how you would be able to translate this phrase. I think it's trying to say that I take care of myself and my brothers but how am I meant to figure that out?

First of all, the clause 'c'est moi qui m'occupe' translates to 'it is me who occupies myself', so how can you follow this phrase on with 'de mes frères'. Can someone please sort out my confusion?

Any answers would be gladly appreciated.

2 Answers 2


You have to identify je m'occupe de as the reflexive form of a verb.

You seem to have got so far as to identify you are dealing with a reflexive verb but the problem might be that in English the verb you need is not reflexive.

And you might be missing that in order to look it up in a bilingual dictionary the de is necessary. So you have to look up for s'occuper de. And that's what you find:

s’occuper de [club] to be in charge of
; [affaire, question à régler] to deal with
; [malade, invité] to look after
; [clients] to serve
; [politique] to be involved in

From those you should be able to deduce which one is relevant for your sentence.

As you progress you will find that French has a lot of reflexive verbs that are not reflexive in English. And you will need to know some of them quite early as you learn. For instance s'appeler (I'm called)/my name is..), se lever (stand up/get up), s'habiller (get dressed), se fâcher (get angry), s'ennuyer (get bored)... Indeed a lot of French reflexive verbs will end up in English as "get+past participle or adjective", but you cannot hold it as a rule. And of course sometimes the se and be identified as an action upon yourself like se couper (to cut oneself).

  • How do you feel about c'est moi qui m'en occupe vs c'est moi qui s'en occupe = celui qui s'en occupe, c'est moi?
    – user20927
    Jul 25, 2019 at 4:17
  • @Minty "c'est moi qui s'en occupe" is not possible. Celui qui s'en occupe, c'est moi implies that the person you are talking to knows of the possible choice of people, c'est moi qui m'en occupe is more neutral.
    – None
    Jul 25, 2019 at 5:39
  • I wondered about that, thanks - it just seems strange that any normal English speaker says it's me who lookS after..., whereas French speakers say c'est moi qui M'en occupe....
    – user20927
    Jul 25, 2019 at 8:34

"S'occuper" and "s'occuper de qqc ou qqn" are two different verbs; so you can't have "occupies myself" and it must be "who is taking care of".

The meaning is then "After school, I'm the one taking care of my brothers." or put in a more usual way "After shool, it is me who takes care of my brothers.".

PS Always check a good dictionary, such as for instance the TLFi; that could provide those clues to you already and in any case it would start teaching you how to read it and progress in the way of extracting much information from it yourself.

  • 4
    Recommending the TLF to a beginner in French is the last thing I would do (unless I want to discourage them). You already need a solid background in French to be able to use it.
    – None
    Jul 23, 2019 at 17:02
  • @Laure I don't believe so; the sooner you start the better: you've just got to keep picking at it. I remember the days when you started studying English in the first year of college in France, the reason being that the children in primary school weren't yet mature enough; this is not the modern point of view; nowadays they can start studying English in kindergartens: Depuis la rentrée 2018, quinze écoles maternelles et primaires du département de l'Essonne (91), ont mis en place (champ 1)
    – LPH
    Jul 23, 2019 at 17:16
  • 2
    You are entirely beside the point. Using the TLF has got nothing to do with bilingual learning. Of course we'd need to agree about what "bilingual" means but this is not the place to discuss and I'm sure from what you say we wouldn't. All I will allow myself to say (from experience) is that so called classes bilingues/bilangues hare absolutely not "bilingual" it is only a commercial name (I do not restrict "commercial" to making money).
    – None
    Jul 23, 2019 at 17:28
  • 1
    @Laure The point is the difficulty involved; what this lowering of the age means is that the task can be started much earlier; it's the same thing with a dictionary: it is not necessary to know all there is to know about its presentation and all the abreviations to read some parts of it and to understand them; little by little, discovery after discovery you get to know the dictionary and the language better. A very good way to learn is by doing.
    – LPH
    Jul 23, 2019 at 19:05
  • 1
    @Laure I use the TLFi myself and I had a question about it some time back on the FSE that has still not been answered properly; however, this dictionary remains the one I use mainly: there is available in it a scope that is not available elsewhere and which is accessible to a lot of people; you'll find in it a solution to your questions often whereas other dictionaries, less comprehensive, less concerned with grammar, simply leave you without means. I am not recommending not to use along with it a simple dictionary, but that one should start acquainting themselves early with it.
    – LPH
    Jul 24, 2019 at 9:15

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