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  1. lostinwebspace
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    lostinwebspace Active Member

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    "Forget" vs. "Forget About"

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by lostinwebspace, Nov 15, 2011.

    Is there a difference between "forget" and "forget about"? Like in the following:

    He forgot about his dinner date with Ginger.

    Wouldn't it be more economical to drop "about"? Should I be dropping "about" in all these constructions or is there an actual grammatical difference?
     
  2. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    To me, "forget" and "forget about" _can_ mean exactly the same thing:

    "I forgot my lunch appointment!"
    "I forgot about my lunch appointment!"


    I don't think that the choice is a question of efficiency, but of your choice of voice--although I might be more likely to "forget about" things like appointments or things that have a sustained existence ("I forgot about the county fair."), while I would "forget" objects. ("I forgot my keys!")

    However, "forget about" has an additional alternative meaning, suggesting a _choice_ to forget or disregard something, rather than actually forgetting:

    "I wanted to pay you back for all the help you gave us."
    "Forget about it."

    "You keep stewing over what Joe did to you. Just forget about it."


    I suspect that this is a dialect thing, because I don't have any trouble imagining:

    "I wanted to pay you back for all the help you gave us."
    "Forget it."


    I just find it a fraction less natural.

    ChickenFreak
     
  3. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    'Forget' is one word, whereas 'forget about' is two words.

    ChickenFreak is kind of right with the choice thing.
    Then again, I'm Australian, so we don't say "forget about it" like those crazy, foreign Americans. We just say, "No worries". We're a chillaxed people.
     
  4. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    well to forget is linked directly to something palpable like an object.
    I forgot my pen/my book/my coat.

    to forget about is linked to a concept/no quantifying.

    I forgot about my lunch/my story/phone call....

    they are two different things.
     
  5. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    However they can be interchanged and people will still understand you.

    Also, who ever says "I forgot about my lunch"? What does that even mean?
     
  6. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    I do. if you are busy or in a meeting or you are writing and you have not checked the time, you could at some stage, to yourself sometime, I forgot about my lunch...cooking, or you ordered it or you prepared it..
    I never say I forgot lunch.
     
  7. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    "I forgot lunch" is still perfectly valid in that case. I'd be willing to say it's more valid than "I forgot about my lunch".
     
  8. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    but you would not say I will eat lunch/dinner.
    you say I have lunch/dinner, right??
     
  9. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    I forgot my lunch oppointment, makes "lunch oppointment" seem like an object.

    Such as, I forgot my wallet.

    Now if I said, "I forgot about my wallet," It means something else.

    I forgot my wallet, means I forgot the object called my wallet somewhere, perhaps at my house.

    I forgot about my wallet, means I am no longer thinking about my wallet. I forgot about this object's existence.

    I think they can mean different things.
     
  10. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    Quite. So they can sometimes be interchanged, and sometimes one or the other is required. I think that Cacian is on the right track with "forget" being about concrete things and "forget about" being about abstracts, but the overlap means that this is a tricky area and I'm not sure I can pin it down.
     
  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    some do say 'eat dinner' etc....

    you're trying too hard to make everything fit into neat little boxes, cacian, when language can't be approached that way... people have their own ways of saying things and in most cases, one isn't right and the other/s wrong, they're merely different...
     

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