These two words are similar and often confused. 

Both words have to do with thinking, and both begin with “r-e-m.” 

Here’s how to “remember” the difference:


  • The “mem” in remember refers to “memory.” 

To remember is the mental act of recalling or retaining information (like what you learn in school and through books). We also remember, or hold in our memories, things like events, people, a song, birthdays, or what we need to get at the grocery store. 

“Remember” is the opposite of “forget.”

Tip: Think of a movie title: “Remember the Titans,” “A Walk to Remember, or “An Affair to Remember.” Each title refers to something that people don’t want to forget!


  • When something sparks a memory, it “reminds” you: 

A grocery list can remind you to buy a lemon or more milk when you go to the store. 

A stranger can remind you, or generate a memory, of someone you know: “That man reminds me of my grandfather!” 

A string tied around your finger is there to “remind” you to do something. 

A colleague who says, “I’ll see you at the meeting,” causes you to remember to be at the meeting: in other words, he is reminding you to be there. 


Sometimes people tie a string around their finger to “remind” them of something they need to do. 


To help you REMEMBER how REMIND works, try thinking of song lyrics with “remind”:

“You remind me of what I really am …” (Nickelback); 

“Always something there to remind me …” (Naked Eyes); and

“Let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be” (Whitney Houston’s “The Greatest Love of All”)