Sunday, July 12, 2009

Olvidarse - se me olvidó - Part two

Let's pick up where we left off, telling the world just how forgetful we are. In Spanish of course. An important skill, especially for an olvidón ( forgetful person) like myself.

In part one of this series, we looked at several examples and translated them using me olvidé, so let's continue to look at those, but this time let's see how we can say the same thing using se me olvidó. This is known as the passive voice, but we arent going to worry about that right now. For now all you need to know is that this another way to say "I forgot".

Now let's revisit our examples:

Did you go to the bank? - No, se me olvidó

I forgot the keys - Se me olvidaron las llaves

I forgot to bring the keys - Se me olvidó traer las llaves

I forgot about him a long ago - Hace mucho que se me olvidó de él

I forgot to call you - Se me olvidó llamarte

I forgot the book - Se me olvidó el libro

Not so bad eh? Grammar wise, there's a whole going on here. My advice? Don't worry about it for now. Take the examples and start using them. There's just two simple rules you need to know right now:

(1) To say you forgot something, use se me olvidó [object]

(2) To say you forgot to do something or about someone, use se me olvidó [forgotten action].

If you've read part one, these rules sound awfully familar.

Now, one thing we haven't talked about yet, is olvidar, the non-reflexive way of saying "I forgot". Well, we'll get to that in the next part of this series. We'll look at the same examples and translate them using olvidar.

¡Hasta la proxima!

***NOTE: There are 4 parts to this subject, and you can see them all by clicking here


  1. Hello,
    Wouldn't "I forgot the keys - Se me olvidó las llaves" be - Se me olvidaron las llaves?

  2. Sorry, I forgot to add, it is because you are really saying The keys were forgotten by me.

    1. If you want to say "The keys were forgotten by me" it must be: Se me olvidaron las llaves, that's the passive construction
      You can't say Se me olvidó because that's the impersonal construction, so, you can't have a person there. You can say, Se me olvidó la llave, that's passive again.

  3. Thanks for pointing that out. The correction has been made.

    Now I'm going to have to learn to tell everyone that I suck at proof-reading as well. :>)

  4. Rodney,
    I love this series of posts. This kind of detail and explanation is what is left out of many courses. Please keep up the good work. I am already looking forward to the next in this series on "olvidar". Don't worry about mistakes, either. I make them all the time and I count on others like you and "Anonymous" to keep me on the right path :)

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  6. How about "Did you forget your keys?"
    ?Se te olvidaron las llaves? Doesn't sound right??

  7. Rodney, estoy de acuerdo con Bob. A mí, me encanta sus blogs. Por favor, sigues con el buen trabajo.

  8. Hey, I´m learning spanish too and I really like this kind of construcions, like olvidar(se), recordar/acordarse, dejar(se), but I do see some mistakes. There are 3 ways to use olvidar:
    1. olvidars(se) algo (he olvidado las llaves / me he olvidado las llaves)
    2. olvidarse de algo (me he olvidado de las llaves)
    3. olvidarsele algo a alguien. (se me han olvidado las llaves)
    For this reason: I forgot to bring the keys - Se me olvidó de traer las llaves = not correct!
    It should be or: Se me olvidó traer las llaves or me olvidé de traer las llaves.

  9. For the samer reason

    incorrect: I forgot about him a long ago - Hace mucho que se me olvidó de él, which should be: me olvidé de él

    incorrect: I forgot to call you - Se me olvidó de llamarte, which should be: se me olvidó llamarte / me olvidé de llamarte.