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  5. "Se rappeler" vs "se souvenir…


"Se rappeler" vs "se souvenir de"

I understand that there is a grammatical difference in the way that the two verbs are used, but is there a difference in meaning?

By which I mean is there a difference in the type of thing being recalled which makes one verb a more appropriate choice than the other?

For example: recollection of facts vs emotions; or maybe "ce que l'on sait" vs "ce que l'on connaît".

May 14, 2020



My understanding is that the two are the same in meaning.

The grammar, as you said, is different:

Je me le rappelle. (I remember him)

Je me souviens de lui. (I remember him)


First thing I want to say is: bravo for seeing that there is a grammatical difference. It is easily one of the mistakes that the French themselves do most frequently.

I really see no situation where you "should" use one instead of the other.

A slight difference, maybe, but it's not even that clear: "se rappeler" would be closer to "recall" (you provide some effort), while "se souvenir" would be closer to you remembering something without specifically trying.


So se rappeler it remember in a more analytical sense (Je me rappelle de ce qu'il faut acheter), and se souvenir is more emotional (On se souvient des vétérans). Let me know if this is clear enough!


It is: "Je me rappelle ce qu'il faut acheter."

And "se rappeler" would work too, when it comes to being emotional: je me rappelle mon enfance... (my childhood)


Everything is already there in other comments, I will just add that the non reflexive verb rappeler exists, you an say Ces bonbon me rappellent mon enfance but there would be no equivalent with souvenir.


"se souvenir" and "se rappeler" basically the same meaning and stands for "remember" and as you mentioned facts vs. emotions. But regarding "(se) rappeler" there is some further use like: "je te rappele dans dix minutes" / "I (will) call you back in ten minutes" and "rappeler que" = remind that, recall that, point out again that...

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