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I was writing a thank you letter to someone I had good time with. I was fighting between two adjectives to describe the experience. These are: 1. unforgettable, 2. memorable. The questions that I was asking myself are:

  1. Is there any difference?
  2. Does one make more impact than other?
  3. Does "unforgettable" have slightly negative feeling associated with it?
  4. Is one of them not OK to use in a formal setting?
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    I'd say that if the experience was bad, you would less likely to call it "Memorable" than "Unforgettable" but I wouldn't go as far as saying it has a negative connotation alone. – Oldcat Aug 14 '14 at 18:36
  • According to the dictionary , they are synonyms. See this question – razieh babaee Aug 14 '14 at 18:44
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    When you get to nuances, no two words are identical, even if synonyms. – Oldcat Aug 14 '14 at 18:54
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"Unforgettable" is a much stronger word. "Memorable" is a much safer word which would normally be selected in a polite thank-you note. Certainly there are cases where the stronger word is also approriate in polite thank-you notes, but the problem is that you don't want to seem to be using overstatement, which can make you appear insincere.

"Unforgettable" means something that is so memorable that it can never be forgotten. Cases where "unforgettable" might be perfectly appropriate include: the weekend at Windsor Castle hanging out with the royal family that the Queen of England recently invited you to, your wedding (for which you want to thank your parents for paying the tab), or the night your band opened for the Red Hot Chile Peppers.

"Memorable" means something worth remembering. It can be used safely for any happy experience. I would use "memorable". By not overreaching in your compliments you will tend to convey more sincerity and produce an ultimately more heart-felt and, thus, powerful thank-you note.

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    As a native American English speaker in New England, I concur with your opinion about usage. "Unforgettable" has a far stronger connotation than "memorable" to me. – Lumberjack Aug 14 '14 at 23:30
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Unforgettable implies a more lively or physical experience, while memorable tends towards the more mentally stimulating experiences. Also, the former generally refers to a single moment, while the latter can refer to a longer period of time. For example, going to college can be memorable, while probably only a single day of class or night of partying could be unforgettable.

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