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I forgot feeding / to feed the cat. (Forget + infinitive/gerund)

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Grammar / Gramática Español-Inglés' started by Pirulo1234, Sep 30, 2013.

  1. Pirulo1234 Senior Member

    Spanish
    Hi! I was studying the difference between the structure "forget/remember + to + infinitive" and "forget/remember + gerund" and I found the following explanation:


    I would like to know if this is correct or not.

    In advance, thank you all!
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2013
  2. micafe

    micafe Senior Member

    United States
    Spanish - Colombia
    It sounds right to me.. :p
     
  3. Pirulo1234 Senior Member

    Spanish
    Thanks.

    Can any native English speaker comfim it too?
     
  4. Chris K Senior Member

    Tacoma WA, US
    English / US
    Without context, I would normally assume that "I forgot feeding the cat" means "I forgot about having to feed the cat," and therefore it would be the same as "I forgot to feed the cat." It could have the other meaning you suggest, if the context was right.

    In your other example, it's more likely that we would interpret "I remembered switching off" as "I remembered that I switched off," but again, it could be ambiguous depending on context.
     
  5. Biffo Senior Member

    England
    English - England
    I would never say "I forgot feeding the cat.", I might say "I forgot about feeding the cat."

    I forgot to feed the cat. (I didn't feed it) :tick:
    I forgot feeding the cat. (I did feed it, but forgot that I had done it) :cross:
    I forgot [that] I had fed the cat. (I did feed it, but forgot that I had done it) :tick:


    I remembered to switch off the TV (I had to turn off the TV and I did it) :tick:
    I remembered switching off the TV (I turned off the TV but nobody asked me for it) :confused:
    I remembered switching off the TV (I turned off the TV. Later I remembered my action.) :tick:
     
  6. FromPA

    FromPA Senior Member

    Philadelphia area
    USA English
    I don't agree at all with your first point. "I forgot feeding the cat" is the same as "I forgot that I fed the cat," the same comparison you made in your second example. I don't see any ambiguity at all.
     
  7. Chris K Senior Member

    Tacoma WA, US
    English / US
    Agreed. We normally wouldn't say it, which is why if we did hear it said we might be confused about what it meant.
     
  8. JennyTW Senior Member

    Córdoba, Spain
    English - UK
    Yes, Pirulo, what you say is right. It's a similar situation with "stop".

    A good way to remember is this; we use "to + infinitive" when the action comes AFTER the action of "stopping/remembering/forgetting" eg "I stopped to feed the cat ( "me paré PARA darle de comer al gato")," I remembered to feed the cat". First I stopped or remembered and then I fed the cat. (Or first I forgot so then I didn't feed the cat!)

    We use the gerund when the action happened BEFORE the action of "stopping/remembering/ forgetting". "I stopped/remember/forget working there". I was workING there (another way to remember), and later I stopped/ remembered/forgot it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2013
  9. Chris K Senior Member

    Tacoma WA, US
    English / US
    Did I do all my chores today? I cooked dinner, I took out the trash, but I forgot feeding the cat.

    It's not the way we would phrase it if we thought about it more, to be sure, but I wouldn't be surprised if I heard it.
     
  10. FromPA

    FromPA Senior Member

    Philadelphia area
    USA English
    I see your example as being incorrect. To me, only "I forgot to feed the cat" or "I forgot about feeding the cat" would fit your example. I interpret "I forgot feeding the cat" to mean I fed the cat, but I forgot that I did it.
     
  11. JennyTW Senior Member

    Córdoba, Spain
    English - UK
    We wouldn't usually say "I forgot feeding the cat", but if we did, I agree that it would mean "I forgot that I fed the cat". We could easily say "I forget feeding the cat, but I must have done because her bowl is full".
     
  12. Chris K Senior Member

    Tacoma WA, US
    English / US
    As I said, it's not how we would say it if we thought about it, because it's unclear at best, and arguably incorrect. But it gets used with some regularity. That's why to me, without context, as in the OP, "I forgot feeding the cat" is unclear. If we wanted to be more clear, we'd have to say "I forgot that I fed the cat" or something similar.

    "Did you remember taking the trash out?" "Yes, mother."
    Maybe Mom's not using the greatest English, but we understand that she's not asking about what we remember now, but about whether we remembered to do what we were supposed to do.
     
  13. FromPA

    FromPA Senior Member

    Philadelphia area
    USA English
    I would say it without giving it a second thought, so now I'm feeling marginalized. :)
     
  14. JennyTW Senior Member

    Córdoba, Spain
    English - UK
    I don't see how any mother would prefer to say "Did you remember taking..." instead of "Did you remember to take the trash out?", unless she wasn't a native speaker.

    To me the difference is quite clear. "I remember going shopping with my mother (as a child)". "I must remember to go shopping with my mother (she's elderly now and can't go alone)".
     
  15. Chris K Senior Member

    Tacoma WA, US
    English / US
    I agree that one ought to prefer to say "Did you remember to take the trash out?" but people sometimes speak unclearly, or more to the point, they speak in ways that are perfectly clear in the context but not clear out of context.

    But I think part of the problem here is the difference between how we use forget and remember, which is a psychological rather than grammatical difference:

    "I remembered feeding the cat" probably means "I remembered that I had fed the cat," although it could, in the right context, used loosely, mean "I remembered to feed the cat."

    On the other hand, to me "I forgot feeding the cat" suggests "I forgot to carry out the task of feeding the cat," although it could, in theory, also mean "I forgot that I had fed the cat." I can't really imagine a real-world situation in which I would make such a statement, with such a meaning, but from a strictly grammatical point of view it's no more unlikely than the version with "remember."

    So to go back again to the original post, I think "I forgot feeding the cat" is highly ambiguous, but "I remembered switching off the TV" less so.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2013
  16. JennyTW Senior Member

    Córdoba, Spain
    English - UK
    I still don't really agree that people would say these strange things, but I guess anything is possible.

    I do, however, agree that it is the psychological nature of these verbs that makes finding good examples with "forget" (particularly followed by -ing) more difficult. If we've forgotten something we wouldn't normally be able to comment on it!

    If we say "I forgot feeding the cat", it means I fed the cat, then forgot I had done it, but now remember my action. So in what context would we really want to make that comment?

    That's why, to show that the verb works in the same way as "remember" and "stop", (as I pointed out in post #8, but which no-one has agreed or disagreed with), it's better to use negative examples, such as;

    I'll never forget going to the beach as a child.

    You won't forget to feed the cat, will you?
     
  17. juan2937 Senior Member

    Spanish
    If remember and forget+-ing forms looks back into the past at things that one did
    I'll never forget meeting the Queen
    I remember buying my first bike

    Would it be correct to use the simple past when using +ing?

    Remember and forget+infinitive looks forward in timing at things that one still has or still had to do at the moment of remembering or forgetting
    I forgot to buy the soap
    You must remember to fetch Mrs Lewis from the station tomorrow
     
  18. JennyTW Senior Member

    Córdoba, Spain
    English - UK
    i see your analysis agrees with mine.

    As to your question about using the past simple of forget/remember +ing, I think it's not so much a question of whether it's grammatically correct (which I believe it is), but more a question of whether the psychological nature of these verbs makes such usage plausible or common, (which I think, possibly it doesn't). I say that because if you say "I remembered going to the beach", and you also remember it now, the normal thing would be to say "I remember going to the beach". And if you remembered it only in the past and you no longer remember it, then you wouldn't be able to say it because you wouldn't remember it!

    i hope this isn't too confusing!!
     
  19. Chris K Senior Member

    Tacoma WA, US
    English / US
    In the present tense, "I remember going to the beach" makes sense in real-world terms, but "I forget going to the beach" doesn't (normally).
     
  20. juan2937 Senior Member

    Spanish
    It is not quite clear, yet Jenny, remembering is bringing things from the past,(things you did) isn't it? I remember going to the beach with you:)
     
  21. JennyTW Senior Member

    Córdoba, Spain
    English - UK
    Actually, I've just realised that the problem only exists when we use "I". It would be fine to say "John always remembered fondly the holidays we spent together, but since the accident he doesn't even know who I am".

    Or "What did Mary remember about the accident?" "Well, she remembered getting into the car, driving off and stopping at the traffic lights on the corner, but after that she didn't remember anything."
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2013
  22. juan2937 Senior Member

    Spanish
    She remembers getting into the car, driving off and stopping at the traffic lights on the corner and after that she didn't remember anything.
    John always remember fondly spending those holidays together.

    are both, okay?
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2013

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