Remember or Remind?

Hi students, it’s Shayna from espressoenglish.net, and today I want to clear up some confusion around the words “remember”, and “remind”, because I see a lot of English learners make mistakes with these words. So today I’m going to teach you the difference, and I’m going to teach you some different ways to use them in sentences.

Difference between remember and remind

I use “remember” when I’m thinking about some things that happened in the past:

  • “I remember going to the beach with my grandparents when I was a child. I remember swimming in the ocean. I remember that we used to make lunch and take it to the beach so that we could stay there all day.”

These are past memories that I’m thinking about. “I remember going to the beach with my grandparents as a child”.

Now, use “remember” when you yourself think about the memories, and use “remind” when someone else makes you think about something, or something else makes you think about something.

For example, “The dentist recently called me to remind me that I have a dentist appointment on Friday”. So, I wasn’t thinking about it myself, but the dentist reminded me. The dentist made me think about my appointment.

I could hear a song on the radio and say, “This song reminds me of my first boyfriend because he really liked that song”. I wasn’t thinking about him, but the song reminded me; the song made me think about him. All right? That’s the important difference.

Use “remember” when you think about memories yourself, and use “remind” when someone or something else makes you think about those memories.

How to use remember and remind in a sentence

So now let’s learn some different ways to use these words in a sentence. We can remember a noun. If people are talking about a game they used to play when they were children, you could say, “Oh yeah, I remember that game”. Game is a noun, so “I remember that game”.

We can also use “remember” plus “that” and a subject and verb. “In thinking about my first grade teacher, I remember that she had brown hair”, and “I remember that she always tried to make class fun”. That’s “remember” plus “that” and then the subject and verb.

Actually, some native English speakers don’t even say “that”. They would just say, “I remember she had brown hair”. “I remember she always tried to make class fun”. It’s possible to eliminate the word “that”, and just use “remember” with a subject and verb.

Now if we have a verb immediately after the word “remember”, we have two possibilities. We can use “remember” plus the “ing” form of the verb to talk about remembering past actions in general. Like I said earlier, “I remember going to the beach”. “I remember swimming in the ocean”. “I remember playing in the sand”. I’m thinking about these past actions, and so I use “I remember” plus the “ing” form of the verb.

It’s also possible to use “remember to,” and we usually use “remember to” when talking about a task. For example if I’m going out of the house, and my husband wants to tell me to do some tasks, he could say, “Remember to put gas in the car, because the car needs gas”. That’s a task I need to do, so he would say, “Remember to put gas in the car”, or “Remember to go to the Post Office and mail the letter”.

Whenever we have a task that we need to remember, and not forget, then we “remember to do” the task. When talking about memories of past actions in general, then we use “remember” plus “ing.” “I remember swimming in the ocean when I was younger.”

Let’s look at some sentences with “remind.” The word “remind” is always followed by a person. OK? “My dentist reminded me about my appointment”, or “I reminded my brother to take out the garbage because today is the day for the garbage pick up”, or “I reminded my students to do their homework”. OK?

These are all examples of “remind”. “Remind” is always followed by a person, and then after that we can have these structures. You can remind someone “that” – so, “My dentist reminded me that I have an appointment”, or “I reminded my husband that the car needs gas”.

Something can also remind you “of” someone or something else. Those were the examples of, “This song reminds me of my boyfriend”, or “This food reminds me of my grandmother”. After “of”, you have a noun. I could also say, “I read an article recently, and the article reminded me of a book that I read in the past”. OK? You can remind someone “of” a noun.

When we have a task, then remind the person “to” do the task. “My husband reminded me to put gas in the car”, or “I reminded my brother to take out the garbage”. Again with “to”, we use it for tasks that we need to do.

I hope that you now understand the difference between “remember” – I remember something myself” – and “remind” – something else or someone else reminds me. All right?

Learn more Confusing English Words

If you want to learn more, please check out my book that’s called, 600+ Confusing English Words Explained. In this book I have lots of words, like remember and remind, that my English students often confuse. In the book I really explain everything with lots of examples and I try to make it extremely clear so that you can understand the difference and use the words more confidently, so that you won’t be afraid of making mistakes with them.

Before we go I want to give you some homework, and that is to write a comment on this video – write two or three sentences using “remember” and “remind”; one of these structures that I taught you today. I will tell you if your sentences are correct or if there are any changes that should be made. All right?

Give it a try. Write a comment to put these words into practice, and please make sure to like this video and share it with other English learners. Bye for now. I’ll see you next time.

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