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Remembering and Forgetting with Ricordare and Dimenticare

In Italian, “to remember” and “to forget” go well together: Ricordare/dimenticare

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

Ricordare may be easy to remember if we think of making a mental record of something.​
Dimenticare, if you take it apart, is kind of a fun word. Di, just like “dis” in English, often undoes something. Mente is the Italian word for mind. You undo something from your mind!

Duemilaseidici è stato un anno da ricordare o da dimenticare?
Was two thousand sixteen a year to remember, or a year to forget?

 

Think of things you want to remember or forget from last year:

Vorrei ricordare un bellissimo viaggio in Italia.
I would like to remember a great trip to Italy.
Vorrei dimenticare quanti soldi ho dovuto spendere
I would like to forget how much money I had to spend.

 

In the above examples, we have treated ricordare and dimenticare as ordinary transitive verbs. They are followed by a noun. This is the most basic way to use these verbs. But ricordare and dimenticare are, more often than not, used reflexively.

Ricordati (remember)!! When a verb is reflexive, the subject and object of the verb are one and the same:

Mi sono tagliato (I cut myself).

 

For more about reflexive verbs see this lesson and this video.

 

In the following example, ricordare is used reflexively, and is followed by a noun, not a verb.

Daniela, tu per caso ti ricordi i nomi degli altri colli di Roma?

Daniela, do you, by chance, remember the names of the other hills of Rome?

Caption 6, Marika e Daniela - Il Foro Romano

 Play Caption

 

Ricordiamoci (let’s remember) that when a verb, not a noun, follows a verb in this category, we need the preposition di in between, as in the following example. You may notice that the verb decidere (to decide) behaves the same way!

Il tuo amico ha deciso di portarti in giro con il suo scooter, ma non ha dimenticato di prestarti un casco.

Your friend has decided to take you around on his scooter, but he hasn't forgotten to lend you a helmet.

Captions 7-8, Marika spiega - I veicoli

 Play Caption

 

The above example could be modified a few ways to say the same thing. We could use the reflexive:

Il tuo amico si è deciso di portarti in giro con il suo scooter, ma non si è dimenticato di prestarti un casco.
Your friend has decided to take you around on his scooter, but hasn't forgotten to lend you a helmet.

 

You will notice that as soon as we use the reflexive form, we need the auxiliary verb essere (to be) rather than avere (to have) in the compound tenses. This can be tricky indeed!

 

We could also use the verb ricordare:

Il tuo amico si è deciso di portarti in giro con il suo scooter, e si è ricordato di prestarti un casco.
Your friend has decided to take you around on his scooter, and has remembered to lend you a helmet.

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

However we decide to use ricordare and dimenticare (and decidere, for that matter), we need di before the verb in the infinitive.

Ah, mi sono dimenticato di dirti che...

Oh, I forgot to tell you that...

Caption 25, Francesca - alla guida - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

Vocabulary

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