Could someone explain the difference between these two words? Here is an example of using each.

  • Your hair and eyes remind me of your mother.
  • I can remember people's faces, but not their names.

Briefly, remind is a causative verb, while remember is reflexive.

The full meaning of remind is something like "to cause someone to bring to mind". I.e.:

Your eyes remind me of your mother = Your eyes cause me to bring your mother to mind.

As demonstrated in the examples above, remind is ditransitive, meaning that it has two objects: the first is the person who is caused to remember, the second is the thing which is remembered.

Remember, on the other hand, is reflexive, meaning that the subject acts on himself to bring the object to mind:

I remember your mother = I recall your mother under my own power.

As this illustrates, remember is a simple transitive verb that has only one object: the thing that the subject brings into memory.

Both verbs mean the same or nearly the same thing, but they differ in the way that the subject relates to the object.

  • i.e. to "remember" is something that you do to yourself; to "remind" is something that you do to someone else. :-) – Jay Oct 24 '12 at 18:22
  • @Jay: Not necessarily - don't forget "remember me to your mother", etc. – FumbleFingers Oct 24 '12 at 18:38

You can remind someone else that it is your birthday this weekend, so that they remember to buy you a present.


Remind can be thought of as causes someone to remember.

They are very similar in meaning and each is used as part of the definition of the other. They can be used nearly interchangeably without much issue and they both relate to memory obviously, but probably the biggest distinction is that remind is capable of being non-specific.

In your example ("Your hair and eyes remind me of your mother"), remind does not imply that the child is the mother's twin, but rather evokes the memory of the mother.

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