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Common Error: "Remember" vs. "Remind"

Hello, and welcome again to Mistake Monday! This error can happen if you confuse two very similar-looking words. Let’s take a look:

Common Error: Remember vs. Remind
DON’T say this: Please remember me to pick up party supplies after work.
Did you remind to wash your hands after you used the bathroom?
WHY? Remember is a verb; it’s the opposite of forget. If you remember a piece of information, you keep it in your memory.

Remind is also a verb, but it’s used differently. When you remind someone about something, then you’re doing it because you don’t want them to forget. You’re basically giving a person an order to remember something.

INSTEAD, SAY THIS: -“Please remind me to pick up party supplies after work.”
-“Did you remember to wash your hands after you used the bathroom?”

So, today’s error was pretty quick, wasn’t it? Hopefully you’ll remember the correct way to use these words. I’ll try to remember to remind you about this mistake if I notice my students making this error–but then again, I may forget!
If you have any other questions or suggestions, please leave a comment or contact us. Thanks for reading!
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  1. AnnaLisa
    On March 31, 2011 at 1:51 am Reply

    At the risk of sounding insufferably boring and terminally nerdy…

    Transitive vs. intransitive might help a person pick the right one. Since “remind” is transitive, it has to be followed by an object pronoun (e.g., remind him) to work right. “Remember” is intransitive, so it can work without the help of a pronoun.

    Having said that, now I’m wondering about usages like “Remember me to Sue when you see her at the party.” My dictionary doesn’t recognize this alternative, not even as slang, but some people do say it.

    English is a trip!

  2. Sitzman
    On April 2, 2011 at 2:08 am Reply

    Hey AnnaLisa!

    Thanks for the comment. You’re right, of course, about the transitive vs. intransitive. And as for the “remember me to so-and-so”-type phrases, I know I’ve heard them, but I think only in some weird “Learn Danish” tapes I had when I was a teen. I guess you could probably say that, but it seems like it’s been replaced with “say hi to so-and-so from me.”

    English IS a trip!

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