Common English Expressions: Forgetting, Remembering and Reminding

Learn useful English Expressions for Forgetting, Remembering and Reminding


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1. Common phrases for Forgetting

We forget things in different ways, and in English there are different phrases you can use to communicate that you forget something.

1. Lose your train of thought

  • Meaning: Forget what you were thinking, right in the middle of thinking about it

E.g. I lost my train of thought

2. Slip one’s mind

  • Meaning: Forget something

E.g. I'm sorry I didn't call you backsooner, it totally slipped my mind.

3. Be on the tip of one’s tongue

  • Meaning: You know that you know something, but you can’t remember it at that moment!

E.g.  Her name is on the tip of my tongue. Just give me a minute, I'll remember it.

4. Ring a bell

  • Meaning: Something is familiar, but you can’t completely remember it

E.g. Your description rings a bell, but I don't think I've ever been there myself.

5. It went in one ear and out the other

  • Meaning: Forget something as soon as you hear it, forget something quickly

(This is not a nice thing to say to someone, because you are saying that you aren’t paying attention to him or her!)

E.g. My instructions to my kids are often inone ear and out the other, especially if they have their phone in front of them.

6. Have a senior moment

  • Meaning: A humorous way of saying that you momentarily can’t remember something simple because you are getting older.

7. My mind went blank

  • Meaning: To suddenly forget or be unable to think ofsomething

E.g. Even though I'd been preparing for theinterview for days, my mind went blank as soon asthey started asking questions.

8. Drawing a Blank (Here)

Meaning: To be unable to think of something.

E.g. I'm sorry, I'm drawing a blank—what's your name again?

9. I Don’t Recall ( I don’t remember)

2. Phrases for Remembering and Reminding

a. PHRASES FOR REMEMBERING

- If I remember correctly…/As far as I can recall…

- I have a vague recollection of…

- It’s on the tip of my tongue.

(= I’m trying to remember, but I can’t quite remember)

- It’s been on my mind

b. PHRASES FOR REMINDING

- Please remember to…/ Please don’t forget to…

- I’d like to remind you about…

- You haven’t forgotten to/about…have you?

- Refresh one’s memory

Meaning: To remind one (about something); to help one torecall something.

E.g.  I'm sorry, I don't remember our discussion about that.

- Jog Your Memory

Meaning: To cause someone to remember something

E.g. I tried jogging mom's memory, but she couldn’t rememberJoe's phone number either.


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