I was speaking with a friend of mine and said I learnt Japanese using some dictionaries and websites. But I forgot to mention that I also use grammar books, so I said:

I forgot! I read many Japanese grammar books.

She then corrected me saying it should be 見忘れました instead, hinting that with 忘れてた (or 忘れました) you can't drop what was forgotten (i.e. it needs to be explicitly said e.g.

I forgot .

Does the 見 at the start of the verb make the transitive verb (requiring an object) into an intransitive verb (not requiring an object)?

The dictionary definitions I have don't show much difference:

見忘れる【みわすれる】 v1,vt + (1) to forget/to fail to recognize/to fail to recognise/EntL1641770X

忘れる【わすれる】 v1,vt Pop + (1) to forget/to leave carelessly/to be forgetful of/to forget about/to forget (an article)

Possibly related: https://japanese.stackexchange.com/a/15118/10888

EDIT: Full conversation below (please ignore spelling mistake of 見忘れました as みわせれりました

Conversation screen grab part a Conversation screen grab part b

  • 4
    忘れてた! sounds fine to me in that context. You could say 言い忘れてた! ("I forgot to say") too, but 見忘れました ("I forgot to see") wouldn't make sense there. Is your friend a native Japanese speaker?
    – chocolate
    Apr 24, 2016 at 13:22
  • @chocolate: Yes, they are a native speaker. Apr 24, 2016 at 13:32
  • Hmm I don't see why they corrected you to say 見忘れた... Maybe you should ask them what they thought you forgot to see...
    – chocolate
    Apr 24, 2016 at 14:38
  • 1
    Seems to me that there are already some misunderstandings before the sentences. Did you put translation together with every your line? (It was chat, right?) Apr 25, 2016 at 17:41
  • 1
    I've used 言い忘れた countless times in my life but not sure if I've ever used 見忘れた before
    – nodakai
    May 1, 2016 at 13:28

1 Answer 1


I think the reason they corrected you to say 見忘れました was that you typed みわせれりました which looked/sounded like みわすれました; as I said in the comment, 見忘れました(I forgot to see) wouldn't make sense there.

And they said 「忘れました→何を忘れたかわからない。見忘れました→👍」(by which I think they meant to say: "If you just said 忘れました, I wouldn't know what you forgot. So I recommend you say 見忘れました"), and 「忘れてた→what? "I forgot~~" = ~を忘れてた」(by which I think they meant: "If you just said 忘れてた, I'd want to ask 'What did you forget?' so I recommend you say like XXを忘れてた(I forgot + [an object])")...

But, in real life, we often use the phrase 「あっ、忘れた!/ 忘れました!/ 忘れちゃった!etc.」(I forgot!) or 「あっ、忘れてた!/ 忘れてました!」(I had forgotten! / Now I remembered!) without explicitly mentioning what you forgot or forgot to do, so...

After reading your whole conversation, I think you could have said:

  • 忘れました! / 忘れてました! 日本語の文法書たくさん読んでいますよ。
    (Lit: I forgot! / I had forgotten! I read a lot of Japanese grammar books, too.)  
  • 言い忘れました! / 言い忘れてました! 日本語の文法書たくさん読んでいますよ。
    (Lit: I forgot to say! / I had forgotten to say! I read a lot of Japanese grammar books, too.)

etc. in your situation.


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