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  5. "Je ne m'en suis pas souvenu."

"Je ne m'en suis pas souvenu."

Translation:I did not remember it.

July 24, 2013



I really think that by this time we need a long and profound lesson with an explanation of all different uses of «en». It scares me.


and "y" for the same reason.


it's probably easier just to nod knowingly whenever anyone uses it, though, that's how I get by.


Merci! I love learning French from a guy named "Tex." Cowboy boots, hat, rodeo belt buckle and all the trappings.




Amusing and useful. Merci!


Merci beaucoup!


(Tex now added to my Home Screen.)


Added to mine also. Thanks! I do think they are making a good point though. I sure would like to see it added to the Duolingo lessons.


There could be a link that is so overwhelming with few examples of how it is always this way except when it is that way always except for this and that and sometimes the other.


Can someone explain this sentence? I don't even see a hint of a past tense verb in it. It looks more like it translates to "I am not in my memory"


well, my initial reaction was shock and horror until I remembered that it's a pronominal verb (se souvenir - to remember). so Je me souviens = I remember.

To make that past, since it's pronominal, you have to use être, so Je me suis souvenu = I remembered.

Then this is negative, so you add in the ne pas according to the rules: Je ne me suis pas souvenu = I didn't remember

And then I imagine se souvenir uses "de" to introduce what is being remembered, which all becomes "en" when used as a pronoun, so Je ne m'en suis pas souvenu = I didn't remember it

but it took me five minutes and if someone said this to my face I would immediately develop a blank stare.


That was the most amazing answer I could have hoped for for this problem. I wish I had enough Lingots to give you. Remind me in a week and I'll give you one!


ok, I gave oxymoronic one, because you are right, that was amazing.....bien fait!


Well, if somebody teaches me how, I will definitely donate a few of my hard-earned for the funniest comment I've read on Duo so far!


Bravo! Oxymoronic has made countless servers stuffed with obfuscation and detached abstractions irrelevant by humanising the rules and disipating the fear. I salute your methodical clarity.


You sir are awesome, very informative and the last sentence made me laugh :)


That was the best explanation of all the questions I had about this sentence I could ever ask for. Have a gem!


Wonderful explanation @oxymoronic. I can go through these processes too. But I agree with @Pastafarianist (from two years ago), that both 'en' and 'y' are so often counterintuitive to so many people that it would be great to have a whole big sections devoted to them to get them into our linguistic systems!


Thanks oxymoronic, shock and horror indeed! It is now Mar 4 2015, not sure when you wrote this or if you are still on duo, but here is another lingot. Many thanks for a great explanation!


Beautiful! Brilliant!


Oxymoronic, you are amazing.


You have just received a lingot from me for that excellent explanation.


That was the best explanation I've seen for these rules.


ah, well thank you. It all makes sense now in a french sort of way. Hope i willl remember


Most helpful non-Moderator post ever on DL! Merci!


Many Duo learners will have one reaction to this, which may include 'I could kiss you' for unravelling this so methodically. Lingot to follow through desk top site. Thank you!


Here I was about to ask why I couldn't use "le/la" for "it" in this sentence, and I see your brilliant post explaining why "en" is used with a de quantity. Suddenly, I remembered that from college French, too! Merci pour votre explication!


Wow that's good. I was confused til i read your step by step explanation. You're good. Lingot for you!


@oxymoronic, that was the best instructive teaching I've ever seen here. No Xtra anything.

Thank you. :-)


and if the person (like our lady robot here) is a female: shouldn't 'souvenue' be accepted. We are using 'etre' rather than 'avoir' after all...


No, because the past participle gets its gender and plural from the direct object (if it appears before the pp in the sentence). "se souvenir de" cannot be constructed with a direct object. The object if necessarily introduced by the "de". The object is then indirect, and the pp remains unchanged.


I thought that the direct object rule applied ONLY to verbs conjugated with avoir, but not with être.


Oh, it gets even trickier when we are talking about pronomial verbs. Have a look at this: http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/pronominalverbs_4.htm

Note: "When pronominal verbs are in the compound tenses, the past participle has to agree with the reflexive pronoun when the pronoun is a direct object but not when it's an indirect object." [My emphasis]

That said, I'm relatively certain that in this case, the reflexive pronoun is a direct object, so, "Je ne m'en suis pas souvenue" should be correct, given a female speaker.

(Btw, the apparent gender of the robot voice is never relevant to the genders in the sentences. Think of them as reading from a memoir - not their own words but someone else's.)

As always, actual Francophones are cordially invited to correct/confirm my guesses here.


Thanks Diana. It looks like it's time for me to hit the grammar books about the reflexives and agreement. So many times, I think I have something figured out, and then there is another nuance that I've forgotten. I like examples to help me remember. Here's what my grammar book says:

Here "me" is considered a direct object:

Je me suis lavée (for a woman)

Here "les mains" is considered the direct object, and "me" becomes the indirect object:

Je me suis lavé les mains (no e even for a woman)


I studied French in high school and again in various "adult ed" classes, as well as through French in Action and other self-ed means. I could swear nobody ever told me about the direct object rule regarding verbs conjugated with avoir, but it's always possible I just wasn't paying attention. I only learned about it here about a year ago, and this stuff about the pronomial verbs is even less familiar.

Sigh. I do find I can read French with less confusion these days, so something is sinking in.


Yes, the reflexive pronoun is the direct object for this sentence and since it refers back to the subject, you could say that the past participle of the pronominal verb must agree with the subject. There are a few verbs where the reflexive pronoun is an indirect object. From your own link: "2. Likewise, with a pronominal verb plus a preposition plus a noun, the reflexive pronoun is the direct object, so you need agreement.

Elle s'est occupée du chien. She took care of the dog.

Ils se sont souvenus de la pièce. They remembered the play."

Their example includes the verb we are using in this Duolingo sentence.

Yes, the feminine version "Je ne m'en suis pas souvenue." has been reported and is accepted as correct.


This regularly confuses me, too. This might help:



That is a very helpful link. But I am still unclear why the "it" (en) cannot be feminine.


Whatever "it" is that he/she didn't remember, the gender is irrelevant in this case. It is neither the subject nor the direct object of the sentence, so it can't affect the participle.


Where does "it" in the English translation come from?


I think it's because se souvenir takes de - je me souviens de la fête, eg - and anytime you use a "de la" type construction, it's replaced by en?


The "en". I don't really understand why. The following article mentions that "en" is used sometimes as a generic pronoun. http://french.about.com/od/vocabulary/a/jenenrevienspas.htm


Why was 'Je ne m'en suis pas souvenue' not accepted? Since we don't know whether the subject or object is mas. or fem., surely either should be acceptable. Can anyone tell me?

  • 1854

It is accepted now.


Argh! Why is it marking "I didn't remember it myself" wrong? Usually in English we leave out the reflexive myself, yourself, etc. but in this case we might include it. Always frustrating trying to guess just how literal the translation has to be for the owl...


Because in French this verb always has a reflexive pronoun. The translation of what you have there would probably be "Moi, je...".


So which verbs are conjugated with "être" and which with "avoir" ?


The hover text gave three english nouns as a definish for the verb souvenu: memory, souvenir, something else I can't remember.


Please take my advice and stop tormenting yourself with those blasted hover hints. I recommend a good dictionary instead. Try http://www.wordreference.com/


"en"? "suis"? I typed "I" and then got stuck. I could see "not" and "remembered" but nothing that looked like a sentence since something like *"je suis mange" for "I am eating" is dead wrong! The closest I could come up with was "I myself am not being remembered" but in the end I just submitted "I" as my answer.


I have now remembered this sentence by rote. The other answers here shed some light on how this sentence works but I would still be unable to use it or understand it if any of the words were changed.


Where is the "it" in this sentence. I do not even get the construct with "en suis" anyway as it is unlike what I have seen before. I can accept that is my own ignorance, but DL says this is "I did not remember IT". I see nothing here that would mean "it". It seems like it would simply be "I did not remember".


"en" is the pronoun meaning "it" here.


Isn't "I did not remember" correct English? Or would it have a different translation in french?

  • 1854

Except that the "en" says what it is that you did not remember. In context, it refers to something previously mentioned. The French needs to have an object for the verb "se souvenir". Without saying specifically what it is, one must insert the "en" to make it grammatical in French.


« souvenir » can't be by itself. It's normally « souvenir de [quelque chose] » - "to remember [something]". Whenever an expression uses « de [quelque chose] », it becomes « en » as a pronoun, which must therefore come before the verb. « en » is the equivalent of "it" in the English translation.


couldn't one also say, "i didn't remember them"..?


It said "I did not remember her" as the correct translation for " Je ne m'en suis pas souvenu:. How is this right?


Because, if I remember correctly, "en" acts as kind of like a "replacement pronoun" for "de + something" after this thing has already been mentioned, so "Je ne me suis pas souvenu d'elle" when you first bring it up, "Je ne m'en suis pas souvenu" when you've already mentioned this girl you didn't remember.


I didn't remember ABOUT IT?


Why the translation " I did not remember about it" has been considered wrong here?


the verb suis is in present not in past tense


Reflexive verbs are conjugated with "être", not "avoir".


do not understand the use of m'en here


Oh my... those dictionary hints sure are helpful...


Really hard to get this correct when it's given as a type what you hear question....M'en V Mon.....they sound the same to me!


No, they sound very different mon has a definite long o nasal sound. Also “Je ne “ starts a sentence and you would be expecting a verb or the pronouns that come before verbs. It is just that if you had never heard of “en”, then your mind would try to replace it with something familiar, but then you should wonder how you got to a possessive adjective without a noun after it and what happened to the verb? Remember that “ne...pas” surrounds the verb with any and all preceding object pronouns. Here, listen to native speakers pronouncing them:
https://forvo.com/search/m%E2%80%99en/fr/ https://forvo.com/search/mon/


Could one say" "I didn't remember any." ?


That sounds unfinished in English. “I didn’t remember any of it.” coukd be reported as also correct.


"i did not remember" should be accepted


Would it be appropriate to translate this as "I had forgotten about it" or does Duo want a tighter, more literal translation?


No, 'oublier' is the verb for 'forget'. 'I had forgotten about it' would be 'J'ai l'oublié' (I think).


"I had forgotten about it" would be "Je l'avais oublié"


Wow, what tense is that?


In french, it's called "plus-que-parfait". It's the equivalent of past perfect.


You translated, "I forgot it", "Je l'ai oublié".


If I go by the hints I would think that this meant "I am not about it remembered". I do not even see the purpose of "m'en suis" in this sentence at all, and I have not seen them before in a construct of past tense sentences. Why not "Je ne le souvenu pas"?


I just read the answer to this in another discussion thread! « se souvenir » uses « de », which becomes « en » as a pronoun. Whenever a verb uses « se », the auxiliary verb is « être ». « se » becomes « me », « te », « se », « nous », « vous » & « se » when conjugated.

This is the breakdown of the sentence:

  • Je ne m'en suis pas souvenu - I
  • Je ne m'en suis pas souvenu - did
  • Je ne m'en suis pas souvenu - not
  • Je ne m'en suis pas souvenu - remember
  • Je ne m'en suis pas souvenu - it
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