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Let me preface this by saying English isn't my first language.

There was a comment by an user on facebook today that went like "This reminds me of the 90's", but the user was born in 94 so my friend said "how can something remind you of something that you haven't personaly experienced or have no memory of".

My explanation was that we can learn about the 90's via books, movies, music etc and create our own idea of those times and then get reminded of them when we hear similar new music released 20, 30 years later.

Can we use the word "remind/reminded" in such way or is there any other synonym to be used in situations like this?

Should it be "this made me think of"?

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    Possibly, it could be, "This reminds me of what I have read/ heard of/ seen in the movie..."
    – Ram Pillai
    Mar 17, 2021 at 16:05
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    'This reminds me of the Victorian era' must if uttered nowadays be shorthand for 'This reminds me of something I know about the Victorian era', corresponding to what Ram says. It is a well-established practice, totally unremarkable except where confusion might occur (or when a literalist or prankster wishes to inject a gripe / joke). Mar 17, 2021 at 16:31
  • See Postal's 1970 paper "On the surface verb remind". His main point is that there are two meanings, which he calls "Strike Like" and "Call to Mind", viz That reminds me of Glasgow and That reminds me to write Harry. Nov 13, 2021 at 4:05
  • 'That evokes the 90s era'. Mar 13, 2022 at 15:56

2 Answers 2

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If something reminds me of the 90s, it, by definition, calls to my mind something I know about the 90s. I may know about it from personal experience, or from books, conversations, etc.; how I came to know it is not a part of the meaning of remind. The word stands for retrieving the information, regardless of its ultimate origin.

It is possible that in a particular case, 'this reminds me of the 90s' will create a conversational implicature that one is reminiscing about one's own experiences, but that will be due to the context, rather than the meaning of the word remind itself.

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In a context this may be okay. Say they were discussing music styles, then “It reminds me of the 90’s” could be shorthand for “it reminds me of grunge and other weird stuff typical of the 90’s”.

Or it may be a case of rhetorical overreach, liable to cause a chuckle. “So it reminds you of being a baby?”

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