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You Taught Me That

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Burr: I'm chasing what I want, and you know what?
Hamilton: What?
Burr: I learned that from you.
— "The Election of 1800", Hamilton

Generally, You Taught Me That is a Stock Phrase directed at a mentor. The pupil is exhibiting, and thankful for, a skill or a value that the mentor taught him, and wants the mentor to be proud of him.

In a more dramatic use, You Taught Me That is directed at a former mentor, in a situation where the mentor and the pupil find themselves on opposing sides. It could mean one of three things:

  1. The student defeats the mentor using a trick that the mentor had taught him.
  2. The student is sticking to the values that the mentor had taught him, before the mentor's Face–Heel Turn. In this case, the mentor is a Broken Pedestal.
  3. The mentor had been a bad example to the student, usually unintentionally, since the mentor's actions didn't seem to live up to his words. This is what prompted the student's Face Heel Turn, and he is currently exhibiting the same flawed behaviour that his mentor regrets. Expect a lot of guilt on the mentor's part.



Film — Live Action

  • Harry Potter:
    • An odd variation in that the "mentor" is consistently villainous: in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (as in the book), Professor Umbridge makes Harry magically carve the words "I must not tell lies" on the back of his hand as a punishment for telling a Cassandra Truth (that Voldemort has returned). Towards the end, he and Hermione lure Umbridge to a centaur herd, and when Umbridge pleas for Harry to tell the centaurs she means them no harm, he replies "I'm sorry, Professor, but I must not tell lies" while holding up the scarred hand.
    • Harry does it again in the seventh film.
      "You're lying, Dolores, and one must not tell lies."
  • Law Abiding Citizen: At the end, the villain is finally cornered by the protagonist, a prosecutor who is responsible for starting the whole thing by making a deal with a murderer. When the villain tries to negotiate, the prosecutor says he doesn't make deals with murderers anymore and references this trope.


  • Ascendance of a Bookworm: After initially asking Myne to make some of the hairpins she designed during winter, Benno asks if she can make a few before the winter actually starts. Myne agrees but asks to be paid extra for them. She then points out that Benno is the one who drilled into her head the idea that she should seize any opportunity to make more money.
  • Mort: The Evil Vizier has a plan to poison his emperor but is outmaneuvered by the emperor and has to eat the poison himself. As he's dying he compliments the Emperor on what he's done and the Emperor says "I had a great teacher."

Live-Action TV

  • The Bill. Inspector Burnside gets a complaint from a judge when a female detective 'accidentally' reads out the accused former offenses in court. When Burnside tells her off for it, she points out that she learned that trick from Burnside.
  • Cobra Kai has #3 in the finals of the karate tournament, when Miguel says it to Johnny.
  • Crisis on Infinite Earths (2019): When Earth-90 Barry asks Cisco to send him to the treadmill so he can preform the heroic sacrifice to stop the antimatter cannon, Earth-1 Barry tries to dissuade Cisco from sending him and from keeping him in the treadmill. Cisco denies Earth-1's Barry's request to save him, citing his teaching that leaders must know when to make hard choices.
  • Farscape. In "Unrealized Reality", John Crichton goes back in time to when he first met Officer Aeryn Sun. This time when she tries to beat him up he effortlessly matches her sparring, saying he was taught by her. Then she sucker-punches him, throws him on the floor, and breaks his neck. (He got better).


  • Hamilton: Alexander Hamilton repeatedly criticizes Aaron Burr for his passivity throughout the play, leading to such an exchange when Burr mounts an uncharacteristically ambitious run for president. Hamilton asks when Burr became so ambitious; Burr replies he learned it from Hamilton.

Video Games

  • Mass Effect 3: If Shepard does not talk Ashley down during the Citadel Coup, Shepard can ask why Ashley stood her ground even though it meant dying. Her answer:
    Ashley: I had to take a stand, Shepard. You taught me that.
  • Tales of Berseria
    Velvet: Arthur’s forgotten Maxim: Don’t despair, no matter what!
    Artorius: Spoken…like a true hero…
    Velvet: It’s what you told me once, long ago.

Western Animation

  • Batman: The Animated Series: In "Cold Comfort", Bruce chides Tim for failing a civics test. When Bruce accuses him of not knowing the first thing about the American justice system, Tim replies that he knows it's bogus. Then Bruce asks whatever gave him that idea, and Tim says "Watching you". Bruce changes the subject.