Recordar, Recordar de or Recordarse de? The right way to remember in Spanish.

¡Feliz Año Nuevo atrasado!

I know what you’re thinking, isn’t it a little late to be wishing someone Happy New Year? 

And yes, you’re correct, I’m culpable de los cargos (guilty as charged). 

But if you’re behind on your new years greetings like me, you can just use the word atrasado to wish someone a belated happy new year.  And here’s a pro tip, it works for birthdays as well, Feliz cumpleaños atrasado.

At any rate, I hope the New Year is treating you well. Let’s get started.

Today I want to share what I thought was an interesting question that came up in one of the live conversational Spanish classes I teach. 

A student asked me about the use of the preposition “de” with the verb Recordar (to remember).

The sentence we looked at was:  Remember to call the doctor.

Well, the short version is no, using the preposition “de” here is grammatically incorrect. The correct translation is: 

Recuerda llamar al médico.

Despite Recordar [algo] being the correct grammar structure, like many things in Spanish, it’s not so cut and dry. There are 2 more structures you might hear when Spanish speakers use the verb recordar. 

Recordar de [algo]
Recordarse de [algo]

* algo = something

Sometimes you’ll hear Spanish speakers say things like:

Yo me recuerdo del viaje que hicimos a Venecia.  I remember the trip we took to Venice.
  *Recordarse de [algo]

¿Recuerdas de la primera cita que tuvimos?  Do you remember the first date we had?
  *Recordar de [algo]

So this begs the question, if Recordar [algo] is the right way to use the verb Recordar, where do the other options come from?

This is a classic example of Spanish grammar meets real life.

It turns out that Recordar de [algo] and Recordarse de [algo] used to be accepted forms of speech, but are now considered outdated, part of medieval and classic Spanish.   However, in certain regions of the Spanish speaking world  it’s not uncommon to still hear those forms used. 

So in summary, even though Recordar [algo] is the modern day recommended structure for using the verb Recordar, and the other forms are colloquial uses that are still around despite the change in grammar rules at some point in history. 

You can confirm that by reading this short explanation:

The article I referenced above is written in Spanish, published by the Royal Academia Española (RAE), the people who maintain the rules of the language. 

The RAE is the authority on the Spanish language when it comes to grammar. They also publish a number of really useful Spanish grammar books, all in Spanish of course.

If you’re a teacher, a big fan of grammar or just take your Spanish seriously, I recommend taking a look of some of their books; I own several of them myself.

Having a grammar book written in Spanish by not only native speakers, but people who are also experts in the language often gives you insight into the language you don’t get from Spanish grammar books written by non-native speakers.

There are about 27 titles on Amazon, and I have a few of their books pictured below. You can click the link below or the image to check them out.

And that’s it for today.

Saludos y ojalá que les sirva.

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