I sent my fiancee a text yesterday (jokingly, of course) saying:

Crei que habias olvidado de mi!

She (Mexican) replied saying that it should be either one of the following:

Crei que me habias olvidado! [makes perfect sense]


Crei que te habias olvidado de mi! [very confusing]

She isn't well educated in the ways of grammar or language, so she couldn't really explain why one phrase would use reflexive with herself as the object, and one wouldn't, and would (seemingly logically) have me as the object.

Does anyone have any insight as to why on Earth you would say te habias olvidado? I'm having trouble making sense of any use of the reflexive in this.

Thanks everyone!


4 Answers



Okay, well, there is a sort of explanation...most Spanish verbs REQUIRE an object. When you use the phrase "de mí"...suddenly there's no object...just this prepositional phrase. So, now she's got no option but to forget herself. I'm sure that clears it all up for you.

This article might help (especially parts 7, 8, & 9)...or it might make you more confused.

This pronomial verb thing drove me nuts for awhile, finally I ended up in a dark corner shaking uncontrollably in the fetal position. However, after years of professional counseling I was able to resume a somewhat normal life.

Take comfort in the fact that we exact our revenge on them when they try to learn English and discover that we can modify the meaning of our verbs with prepositions in very unexpected ways (example: turn vs. turn on/off).



Alternately, you can view it this way:

olvidar = to forget something (you must tell us what you forgot...as a direct object)

olvidarse = to forget (you don't have to tell us what you forgot...at least not as direct object)

Olvidé el libro = I forgot the book.

Me olvidé = I forgot. (olvidarse conjugates to me olvidé for 1st person singular past)

In the case of olvidar and a great many verbs (but not all verbs), a reflexive pronoun is more or less just a signal to let us know that no real direct object will be provided.

  • Se me olvidó ........ - JulianChivi Jun 14, 2010
  • Rats, Julian, now I'm back to confused again! - webdunce Jun 14, 2010


Welcome to the wonderful world of pronomial verbs. grin

Look up olvidar, and look under the section titled "pronomial verb."

You have two choices: (1) she can forget you or (2) she can forget herself of you.

She can't explain it because there is no explanation, Spanish just works that way. One gets used to it after awhile.

  • Jun 14, 2010
  • | link


Oooooh, ok, I guess that does help somewhat! Reading the part about the sinking boat kind of helped it make more sense (transitive vs. intransitive verbs). And I guess I thought that "de mi" served the same function as "me ", but I guess that's not the case.

Great replies - thanks a lot for the help! smile

  • Jun 14, 2010
  • | link