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Intermediate level

Remember, remind, recollect or recall?

Episode 200324 / 24 Mar 2020

This week's question

What’s the difference between ‘remember’, ‘remind’, 'recollect' and 'recall'? - Agustin

Answer this

Which of these words not only means remember, but also involves communicating the memory?

Language points

means 'have a memory about something'. It has many verb patterns: remember + object (noun), remember + question word / that clause, remember + -ing (remembering something done in the past), remember + full infinitive (remember to do something in the future).

  • I remember this music from yesterday.
  • I remembered that I had forgotten to lock the windows.          
  • I remember cooking this for you last week.
  • I must remember to go shopping for food later.

Remind means 'make someone remember'. It also has a few verb patterns: remind + question word / that, remind + somebody + full infinitive, X reminds someone of Y (meaning it sparks a memory).

  • The teacher reminded the class what was acceptable behaviour.
  • I have an app that reminds me to pick up my laundry.
  • That smell reminds me of the cake my grandma used to make.

Recall & recollect
Both recall and recollect can mean 'remember'. Both can use: recall / recollect + that / question word, recall / recollect + -ing. However, recall can also mean 'remember and communicate the memory'.

  • I don't recall what I did with my keys. Then I recollected that I had left them at work. 
  • Do you recall watching this movie before? Do you recollect sitting in the cinema?
  • At his retirement party, the professor recalled some of the best moments of his career to his colleagues.

The answer

Recall. Recall can also mean 'remember and communicate the memory'.

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