05 March 2019

Acordarse vs Recordar: when is it Remember and when is it Remind?

A common mixup that Spanish language learners make is between the verbs acordarse and recordar. Remembering the right words to use when learning Spanish can sometimes be tough. This is especially true with words that sound similar and, in general, have the same meaning. We’re going to briefly go over the two that mean “to remember” and which one can be used as “to remind”.

Acordarse vs Recordar: when is it Remember and when is it Remind?

To remember: the differences between acordarse and recordar

The verbs acordarse and recordar essentially mean the same thing – to remember. The structures, however, are different. It is important to recognize and remember that acordarse is a reflexive verb and needs the preposition de to mean to remember something:

acordarse de algo (to remember something)

  • ¿Te acuerdas de mi amiga Daniela? Do you remember my friend Daniela?
  • ¿Te acordaste de comprar la leche? Did you remember to buy the milk?
  • Mi prima siempre se acuerda de los cumpleaños de la familia. My cousin always remembers the birthdays in the family.

recordar algo (to remember something)

  • ¿Recuerdas lo que comimos en ese restaurante indio? Do you remember what we ate at that Indian restaurant?
  • No recuerdo en dónde vive él. I don’t remember where he lives.
  • ¿Recuerdas dónde Stefania fue en su viaje? Do you remember where Stefania went on her trip?

As you can see, these verbs have the same meanings and can be used interchangeably. Because they are so similar, though, it is important to remember that only acordarse is reflexive (saying me recuerdo is wrong) when used as to remember or to recall.

Using recordar as “to remind”

In some cases, recordar is used as “to remind”. Either something can remind you of something else, or you can use it to make sure you – or someone else – does not forget something.

recordar algo (to remind, to be reminded of)

  • Esa chica me recuerda a una ex-novia. That girl reminds me of an ex-girlfriend.
  • Esta canción me recuerda nuestra primera cita. This song reminds me of our first date.
  • Recuerda pasar por la leche mañana por la mañana. Remember to pick up the milk tomorrow morning.

In the first two examples, esa chica (that girl) and esta canción (this song) remind the speakers of other things. In contrast, the third sentence serves as a reminder for the person that the sentence is directed at; the speaker does not want them to forget to buy milk.

Uses of acordar

The verb acordar on its own (not reflexive) means to agree or agree upon something.

acordar (to agree, to agree on)

  • Gabriel y yo acordamos que se lo vendería a 50€. Gabriel and I agreed that I would sell it to him for 50€.
  • Estoy de acuerdo contigo. I agree with you.

In conclusion, we hope that this post has helped clear any doubts or confusion for you. If you are interested in studying Spanish and getting to know grammar rules likes these in a classroom setting, you can check out our offering of Spanish classes in Barcelona.