I thought of using this expression but (un)fortunately I did a quick check to find out that it is old-fashioned. I would like to know some current expressions that convey the same meaning. Below is the definition of the idiom under consideration.

(You) mark my words. (old-fashioned)

something that you say when you tell someone about something that you are certain will happen in the future That girl's going to cause trouble, you mark my words.

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    I'm not sure that Mark my words is really old-fashioned, because I can still hear it in many movies and TV series. What really makes me feel old-fashioned is, Heed my words. Commented Jan 14, 2014 at 12:08
  • The Day After Tomorrow is rerunning on my cable again. While watching the scene that our protagonist was trying to warn people that the weather will be worse but nobody listed to him, I thought of this question, and probably if I were him, I might say Please listen to me!. Though not having exactly the same meaning as Mark my words, I think it fits as a milder and more polite version. Commented Jan 16, 2014 at 12:11
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    "Believe you me, ..." is on the rise.
    – jchook
    Commented Apr 5, 2018 at 20:41

4 Answers 4


Mark my words, the phrase isn't all that outdated.

Nevertheless, I tried to think of other alternatives to this phrase, since that's what you asked for. I manage to think of a few:

  • Don't say I didn't tell you (along with other variants)
  • ...you can bank on it
  • You can bet your bottom dollar
  • I'm telling you...
  • ...I guarantee it

Here are some excerpts where these phrases mean roughly the same thing as mark my words:

Don’t say I didn’t tell you: Two years from now, the GOP will officially split into two parties... (from a news article by Charles Ellison, 2014)

And you can bank on this: while crusades may start out as one-man crusades, if the idea behind the enterprise is good, soon you'll have lots of support. (from Magic of Thinking Big, David Schwartz, 1987)

We can teach all the right responses in the world but if we never role model them - well, you can bet your bottom dollar you won't see them in your children. (from a book on parenting by Eydie Comeaux, 2003)

I'm telling you, there's only one way you gonna get to Norlins now, and that's by cab. (from Old Glory: A Voyage Down the Mississippi by Jonathan Raban, 2011)

You can replace the bolded words with mark my words, and the passages will pretty much mean the same thing.

As for the currency of mark my words, an Ngram hints that its usage may have peaked about 100 years ago. Yet even in recent years it still dwarfs some of the alternatives I've mentioned:

enter image description here

I think the most interesting part of that Ngram, though, is the sudden spike in I guarantee it, which seems to coincide with Joe Namath's famous Super Bowl prediction, further discussed in this column.

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    Your chart stops at 2000. If you extend it to 2010, mark my words is on a resurgence: books.google.com/ngrams/… :)
    – Matt
    Commented Jan 15, 2014 at 1:15
  • @Matt - I'm not completely surprised, but that is still rather remarkable.
    – J.R.
    Commented Jan 15, 2014 at 1:29
  • In 2008, "mark my words" is five times as common as "you just wait and see", so how come it's old-fashioned?!
    – learner
    Commented Jan 15, 2014 at 5:59
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    @learner - Just wait and see – sometimes the "you" gets left out. As for why one dictionary called it old-fashioned, your guess is as good as mine. As others have said here, it doesn't ring antiquated to us.
    – J.R.
    Commented Jan 15, 2014 at 11:44
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    @Matt There are often significant changes after 2000--the data is less reliable. 1800-2000 is the most carefully curated set of data in the corpus.
    – user230
    Commented Jan 15, 2014 at 12:06

I think I would be most likely to say, "You just wait and see!"

  • That's a good one, too.
    – J.R.
    Commented Jan 15, 2014 at 1:29
  • Yeah, I was looking for this; I hear it a lot while watching cartoons with the kids!
    – learner
    Commented Jan 15, 2014 at 5:40
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    Or: "you('d) better believe it!"
    – nxx
    Commented Jan 15, 2014 at 17:10

I disagree -- I think it's not that old-fashioned and a perfectly fine expression that you should feel free to use (speaking from the perspective of American English). You could say "I just know it" or "I'm telling you" to mean roughly the same thing, but I like "mark my words" best.

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    (to clarify, it is a LITTLE old-fashioned, more than the alternatives I suggested, but it's not very old-fashioned; nobody would laugh at you if you said it.)
    – hunter
    Commented Jan 14, 2014 at 12:09
  • That's what I wanted to make sure in the first place. Macmillan's and Cambridge's state that it's but Longman's doesn't mention anything about its "currency?!".
    – learner
    Commented Jan 14, 2014 at 12:18
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    @learner My personal impression is that it's more common in fiction than real life, though I'm not going to research that right now to see if it's correct.
    – user230
    Commented Jan 15, 2014 at 12:08

Inspired by the phrase Please listen to me! (while I was watching the movie mentioned in the comment), I can come up with many other common phrases that can be used "when I tell someone about something that I'm certain will happen in the future". In other words, they can replace the part [you mark my words] in your example sentence:

That girl's going to cause trouble, [you mark my words].

Here are some possibilities I can think of,

  • You listen to me
    (along with its variations, such as You must listen to me, Please listen to me!, and so on)
  • You must believe me
    (along with its variations, such as Believe me, You have to believe me, You should believe me, You better believe me, You'd better believe me, and so on)
  • Trust me
    (along with its variations, such as You have to trust me, You better trust me, and so on)
  • Take my word for it
    (this one is an idiom, meaning Believe me.)
  • I'd pick "Take my word for it", and "trust me". "Trust me" is super common. The other suggestions aren't as fit as the one I picked.
    – learner
    Commented Jan 16, 2014 at 14:25

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