English Grammar Guide

Commonly Confused Verbs

Remind and Remember

Remind and Remember

The verbs 'Remind' and 'Remember' are often confused by non-native speakers but have different meanings and uses. The difference between 'remind' and 'remember' is that 'remember' is something you can do alone, whereas 'remind' is an action performed by another person or thing which causes you to remember something.

To Remind

Remind is a transitive verb and is followed by an object and a verb infinitive (with to), or a 'that' clause.

The normal construction is :  subject + remind +object + (verb infinitive / or / that clause / or / about.. / or / of )


Remind...to

  • 'Paolo, don't forget to take your coat!'  -   She reminded me to take my coat.

  • 'Paolo, remember to take your coat!'  -  She reminded me to take my coat.

Remind...that

  • 'It's your father's birthday today.' -  She reminded me that it was my father's birthday.

  • When I saw the advert I remembered that I needed to buy some coffee.  -  The advert reminded me that I had to buy some coffee.

Remind....about
In some cases (not when reporting an imperative) we can also use the form 'remind ...about'.

  • 'You have a dentist appointment today.'  -  She reminded me about my dental appointment.

  • 'Don't forget there's a strike on the trains today.'  -  She reminded me about the train strike.

Remind …of
We use remind…of to say that something makes us remember the past, or to say that one thing makes us remember another, usually similar.

  • She reminds me of a girl I used to know at university.

  • This music always reminds me of our holiday in Jamaica.

  • What does this film remind you of? It seems very similar to another film, but I can't remember which one.

To Remember

'To remember' describes the action of recalling the memory of something from the past in your mind.
As an imperative, 'remember' means 'don't forget'.

'Remember' is an action you perform internally, in your mind. The act of remembering does not influence another person. Remember can be used transitively with an object or intransitively without an object. It is often used with 'to' + infinitive, with a continuous verb form, and also with 'when-', 'where-', or 'that-' clauses.


The normal construction is:
Subject  +  (verb infinitive (with to) / or / verb ..ing form  / or / when-where-who etc / or / that clause)


Remember to
With 'remember to' the action of remembering must happen (or not happen) before another action.

  • Please remember to buy some coffee!          (Remember should happen first, buy coffee after)

  • Did you remember to buy some coffee?        (Hopefully remember happened first, buy coffee after)

  • I remembered to lock the door.                   (I remembered the need, then locked the door)

  • I didn't remember to lock the door.              (I did not remember, so I did not lock the door)

Remember ..ing
When we 'remember ..ing' it means we have the memory of a past action in our minds at the time of speaking. We can say that we recall performing the action, or that we cannot recall performing the action.

  • I remember visiting Rome last year.           (I visited Rome, and I am thinking about it now)

  • Do you remember buying those shoes?      (I am asking if you remember the action of buying - not if you bought them)

  • I don't remember locking the door.           (I am unable to remember if I locked the door, or not. I cannot recall performing the action)

Remember when / who / where (etc)
We can use this construction with all the usual wh-question forms. It is often used to ask for information or to identify the subject of a noun.

  • I remember when we first met.               (In this construction, 'when' replaces the phrase 'the time when..')

  • I can't remember who he is.                   (I cannot recall his name)

  • I can't remember where I left my keys.    (In this type of construction, 'where' replaces the phrase 'the place where..')

Remember somebody
We often use this form when speaking about people. It means only that you can (or can't) remember who a person is/was.

  • I remember him. He was the captain of my football team at school!

  • Do you remember Rachele? She used to work here.

  • They said they stayed at the same hotel as us last year, but I can't remember them, can you?

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