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Confusing verbs and prepositions: to remind or to remember? to remind about or of?

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Since some of you quite liked my last post about prepositions, I thought I would write another one on the same topic. This time we’ll focus on the verb ‘to remind’ and the prepositions that can follow it.

25001380898956_Sometimes-all-it-takes-is-a-stroll-down-memory-laneto-remind-you-to-never-give-someone-the-power-to-But first, I would like to point out the difference between two verbs that students often seem to confuse: ‘to remind’ and ‘to remember’.

1) TO REMEMBER SOMETHING OR DOING SOMETHING

To remember something or doing something means to have a memory of it like in the following examples:

I remember meeting you at the party. >> I have a memory of meeting you at the party.

I remember her from my school days, we were in the same year. >> I have a memory of her from my school days.

Notice that when used to talk about your memories, ‘to remember’ is followed by a noun/pronoun (her) or a gerund (meeting).

2) TO REMEMBER SOMETHING OR TO DO SOMETHING

To remember something or to do something is used when talking about something that it’s on your to-do-list or that you shouldn’t forget:

Will you remember to buy potatoes on your way home?

I’m so sorry, I didn’t remember your birthday!

As you can see in the above examples, remember is never followed by ‘someone’ so the structure ‘to remember someone to do something’ would be incorrect in English. Instead, you should use ‘remind’ in this case.

TO REMIND SOMEONE SO THEY WON’T FORGET

1) If you remind someone to do something, you make sure they will remember to do something that they have to do:

Don’t worry, I’ll remind Dad to pick you up from school. >> I’ll make sure he’ll remember he needs to pick you up.

2) If you remind someone ABOUT something, you want to make sure they won’t forget about it:

I’d like to remind you about tomorrow’s meeting, please come ready. >> I’d like to make sure you haven’t forgotten about tomorrow’s meeting

TO REMIND SOMEONE OF SOMETHING/SOMEONE ELSE BECAUSE OF SOME SIMILARITY

1) If someone reminds you OF someone else, it means that you think these people are somehow similar. Have a look at this example:

Lucy reminds me of my cousin Mary. They are both very friendly and chatty.

2) The same can be said if something reminds you OF something else:

This place reminds me of my home town. It’s just dead and boring. >> My home town is also dead and boring

TO REMIND SOMEONE OF SOMETHING/SOMEONE ELSE >> TO BRING BACK MEMORIES FROM THE PAST

If something reminds you OF someone/something it means that this thing (a place, food, a song etc) brings back some memories from the past like in the following sentences:

This food reminds me of my mum. She used to cook a delicious fish pie.

This song reminds me of our holiday in Cuba.

Hope this helps! 🙂
Talk soon,
Deb

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Confusing prepositions: to shout at or to someone?

Boy shoutingPrepositions are always tricky for students to get their head around. Especially when the same verb can be followed by either of two prepositions like in the case of ‘shout’. So which is the right preposition to use after ‘shout’, is it ‘at’ or ‘to’?

Well, you could use either and both would be correct but the meaning of ‘shout’ would change.

TO SHOUT AT SOMEONE

If you shout at someone, you’re angry. So in the middle of an argument between two people, you might hear one of them say:

“It wasn’t my fault, why are you shouting at me?”

or

“Why do you always shout at me for no reason?”

TO SHOUT TO SOMEONE

If you shout to someone, you want to attract their attention maybe because they’re far or can’t see you. For instance, you might be walking and suddenly see a friend of yours across the street and to attract their attention you shout to them.

“I was on my way to the library when I saw Mark across the street, I tried shouting to him but he didn’t hear me”.

Another verb that behaves like ‘shout’ is ‘throw’. Have a look at these examples:

“Mark threw the ball to me” >> in this instance, Mark just passed me the ball for me to catch it.

“Mark threw the ball at me (and hurt my eye)” >> in this case Mark was mean and wanted to hit me!

So when deciding which preposition to use, first understand what the intention is.
Hope the choice of which prepositions to use after ‘shout’ or ‘throw’ won’t bug you any more!
Talk soon,
Deb 🙂

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in or at the restaurant?

hungry-angry-unhappy-man-waiting-for-dinner-poor-service-bad-review-restaurant-pen-ink-drawingSo the other day this student of mine asked me “should I say in or at the restaurant?”
Well, both options are correct but they mean slightly different things.

First of all, let’s put things into context: imagine that you were supposed to meet a friend for lunch and he or she phoned and asked you “where are you?”

option 1: you answer “I’m in the restaurant”

What you mean is that you’re inside the restaurant (maybe sitting at a table sipping some red wine). If you go for this option, you emphasize the physical space where you are.

option 2: you say “I’m at the restaurant”

This case is less clear in the sense that you could be either inside or around the restaurant. So you could be sitting at a table or you could be waiting for your friend outside, in front of the restaurant.

The following example should help you understand why sometimes speakers choose one option over the other.

Situation 1: “I’m at the supermarket”

Your girlfriend is waiting for you at home, she phones you and says “Where the hell are you? I’m starving!”
In this case the most appropriate answer would be “I’m at the supermarket” because what you mean is that you’re doing the shopping. You don’t want to emphasize exactly where you are as it’s not relevant in this situation. You want to stress what you’re doing. You could have said “I’m doing the shopping” and it would have been a sensible answer.

Situation 2:  “I’m in the supermarket”

Now, you were supposed to meet up with your girlfriend in front of the supermarket and do the shopping together (since you both hate doing it). She’s running late and she calls you up and says “Where are you? I’m 10 minutes late”. In this situation, if you were inside the supermarket and you wanted to make it clear to her so that she won’t look for you outside, you would probably say “I’m in the supermarket” (and maybe you would also add “because I was freezing my ass off waiting for you outside” :).

Hope it makes sense!