ACORDARSE VS RECORDAR
Make a big difference in your Spanish by avoiding small errors. Starting now.
Read the following sentence in Spanish. There is a mistake committed by Spanish students (but never native speakers). Can you spot it?
You want to say, ‘I don’t remember the address of your house’:
You: No me recuerdo la dirección de tu casa
If you can’t, that’s a good thing because that means we can fix it right now! And if you saw it, well then, you’re a superstar ;).
The problem is the mixing up of two words which mean the same thing in Spanish – acordarse vs recordar. They both mean to remember, but one is used reflexively and the other is not. Here is the correct way to say the above sentence; there are two options:
I don’t remember the address of your house:
No me acuerdo de la dirección de tu casa.
No recuerdo la dirección de tu casa.
Which is which?
When we talk about remembering something, acordarse is reflexive while recordar is not:
You can use either one of these options, but you can’t mix them up. In addition, acordarse is always followed by the preposition ‘de‘. Here are a few more examples to make sure you’ve got it:
ACORDARSE (de) algo – TO REMEMBER (about) something
¿Te acuerdas de mi prima Nuria? = Do you remember my cousin Nuria?
Mis amigos nunca se acuerdan de mi cumpleaños = My friends never remember my birthday
Lucas no se acuerda muy bien de aquel día. = Lucas doesn’t remember that day very well
RECORDAR algo – TO REMEMBER something
¿De verdad no recuerdas nada de la noche pasada? = Do you really not remember anything from last night?
Marta recuerda con cariño su vieja casa = Marta remembers fondly her old house
Vosotros no podéis recordar ese número de teléfono = You all can’t remember that telephone number
Which is more correct?
They both have exactly the same meaning and can be used interchangeably. If there is a difference, you could say native speakers most often use acordarse before recordar, and recordar appears more in literary contexts. But feel free to use either one, just use them correctly.
Three rules to help you remember
Here are the main points to remember so you don’t confuse the two verbs:
1. Acordarse is reflexive. There is a non-reflexive form, but it has a different meaning (acordar means to agree)
2. You must always use the preposition ‘de’ after acordarse
3. Recordar is only non-reflexive; there is no reflexive form (recordarse doesn’t exist)
One last point of confusion to avoid
I know you would never, but just in case, don’t confuse the yo conjugation of acordarse which is me acuerdo with the common phrase de acuerdo. which simply means to be in agreement.
See the examples below:
ME ACUERDO – I remember
–¿Sabes quién es el profesor de matemáticas del año pasado? = Do you know last year’s math teacher?
–¡Sí! ¡Me acuerdo de él! = I remember him
DE ACUERDO – OK / Agreed
–Nos vemos a las 7:00 en la estación de tren. = See you (we’ll see each other) at 7:00 at the train station
–¡De acuerdo! = OK!