Which verb do you use to say “to remember” in Spanish: ¿acordarse or recordar? If you are not sure about the answer, our Spanish school El Rincón del Tándem will guide you towards the right choice. Take a look at this easy explanation 🙂

Today we are going to explain the meaning and use of the Spanish verbs acordarse and recordar. The two Spanish verbs are very frequently used to speak about present situations or to recall past memories and facts.

Therefore, when you study Spanish you will find yourself in situations where you are supposed to use them.

So, let’s clear up any doubts!

Difference in meaning

To begin with, all Spanish students should know that both Spanish verbs can be used interchangeably in most cases. In fact, both verbs mean “to remember something”.

Examples:

¿Te acuerdas de nuestro viaje a Nigeria?

¿Recuerdas nuestro viaje a Nigeria?

Both sentences are translated the same way in English. That is: “Do you remember our trip to Nigeria?”

There may be a very slight difference in meaning that resemble the difference between the English verbs “recall” (recordar) and “rembember” (acordarse). As the meaning nuances are very subtle the main mistake Spanish students make concerns the sentence structure rather than meaning.

Nevertheless, there are some cases in which we can only use the verb recordar. In all these circumstances we use recordar to mean “to remind”.

1. When someone reminds somebody to do something or about something:

Os recuerdo que la conferencia ha sido cancelada = I remind you that the conference has been cancelled

Luisa le recordó a su hermana la cena con sus padres = Luisa reminded her sister about the dinner with their parents

2. We use recordar also to ask someone to help us not to forget

Recuérdame de comprar flores para la fiesta = Remind me to buy flowers for the party

3. When something reminds us of something else or when a person resembles makes us think of another person

Esta canción me recuerda el día en que te conocí = This songs reminds me of the day I met you

Mi hermana me recuerda a mi abuela. Tiene la misma manera de hablar = Mi sister reminds me of my grandmother. She has the same way of talking

Difference in structure

The most common mistake that Spanish students make with the two Spanish verbs has to do with the sentence structure. In fact, the main difference concerns the way we form sentences with acordarse and recordar.

First of all, recordar is a transitive verb and cannot be used in reflexive form. Therefore in Spanish it is always followed by a direct object.

On the contrary, acordarse is a reflexive verb and it only exist in reflexive form when meaning “to remember”.

Here below find the right sentence structures for both verbs:

RECORDAR + ALGO

Example:

Recuerdo con placer nuestras últimas vacaciones en Grecia = I remember with pleasure our last holidays in Greece

No puedo recordar su cara ni su nombre = I cannot recall neither her face nor her name

ACORDAR + DE + ALGO o ALGUIEN

Examples:

No me acuerdo de la fecha de cumpleaños de Ester = I do not remember Ester’s birthday

¿Te acuerdas de mi prima Ana? = Do you remember my cousin Ana?

LOOK OUT!

The transitive verb ACORDAR has a different meaning than acordarse. In fact, the English equivalent is “to agree” and has nothing to do with the action of remembering.

Example:

Al final de la reunión todos los miembros de la familia acordaron vender la casa = At the end of the meeting all the family members agreed to sell the house

Please, keep in mind that acordar is quite formal and less used than the equivalent expression: estar de acuerdo con. You are more likely to listen or use the latter expressions in Spanish.

We hope this blog on the Spanish verbs acordarse and acordar gave you some useful tips.

Lastly our Spanish school El Rincón del Tándem suggest you to make the most of your time at home to improve your Spanish.

Although our Spanish school is temporarily closed, we continue to support your Spanish learning process providing Spanish lessons via Skype.

Get in contact (contact) with us to know more about this online option.

Till the next blog!