This line is from a tv show Modern Family, and the context is that

the girl in the picture above(Alex) is the daughter of the woman in the car(Claire). Alex in this episode hurts her mom's feeling by telling her not to come near her or even say hello to her when she's with friends. Clair thinks Alex's going into puberty phase where the kids try to avoid their parents so she's very disheartened, but Alex comes back in the car not long after and suddenly apologizes to Claire with such sweet and innocent face about her previous behavior. When Clare's just about to get all soft and emotional again, Alex asks her mom to give some money so that she can go hang out with her friends. (So acting sweet and obedient might have been her little tactic to get her mom to give her money.)

Claire gives Alex money with a smile on her face, but then lines in the picture below are what she says to Alex before driving off and leaving Alex dumbfounded.

And I don't understand what "Teach her how to screw with me" here. I vaguely get the sense what she's trying to say(I guess she's making a point that her daughter can't beat her. Claire is deliberately embarrassing her daughter.), but this line doesn't seem to make sense when translated literally, and this phrase/structure, "teach somebody to do something", being used in this context is not familiar at all to me so it's a little confusing. What's the exact meaning of it and how should I understand this line?

1 Answer 1


It's a slightly abbreviated version of the common expression, I'll/that'll teach her to <do something I don't like>.

I’ll teach you to do something

used for saying that you will punish someone for doing something

I’ll teach you to tell me lies!


that'll teach sb

used to say that a person should avoid doing something bad in the future thanks to the experience of the effects of their actions:

  • So Roger spent the night in a freezing garage, did he? That'll teach him to (= show him that he should not) go out without his house keys!


By insulting her daughter and publicly humiliating her, the mother has taught her daughter a lesson about what happens when she "screws with [her]."

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