I can think of three ways to say "I remembered to put a pen in my bag"




I think all are technically correct but I'm not sure which is more natural.

  • 3
    Are you really trying to say "remembered to"? Because you're saying "didn't forget to". – istrasci Jan 25 '17 at 17:20
  • Most things I've read for this kind of case would say "did not forget to" or "do not forget to" but if I am completely wrong here please correct me. – Eric Y Jan 25 '17 at 17:21
  • 1
    Japanese dictionaries say that both "remember to" and "don't forget to" mean 忘れずに~する. When they become past tense, are their meanings different? Doesn't "remembered to" mean 忘れずに~した? Could someone teach me? – Yuuichi Tam Jan 26 '17 at 4:44
  • 1
    ^「忘れずに~した」でいいと思います・・ – Chocolate Jan 26 '17 at 6:55

Your first and second sentence are the same meaning. 忘れないで~する is a bit unnatural but 忘れずに~する is natural. And I feel the second one is more literary than the first.

The meaning of your third sentence are different from the others. This means "I put a pen in my bag and I didn't forget it."



ないで tends to sound like the negative imperative "Don't do X," so this one sounds a bit awkward, as if the 忘れないで is part of a quote from which we're missing the first half. While you can generally use ないで as a negative gerund, it typically doesn't imply causality with what comes afterwards. If you'd like to lead with some form of 忘れる here, you can use 忘れなくて as such:


If you're comfortable with it, you can also use ~ず here, simply replacing 忘れなくて with 忘れず[に]. Personally, I think ず is the best choice for this kind of sentence, but なくて functions just fine if you aren't there yet.


I think this is the most easily understood of the three sentences you've given us, but I'd suggest using の instead of こと when nominalizing 入れる:


To me "カバンにペンを入れることのを忘れなかった" sounds a little like you're talking about an experience rather than something abstract, like "I remember [didn't forget] going to put a pen in my bag," and I would somewhat expect to here some "but/however"-type clause follow. こと tends to sound like one is speaking of concrete events rather than abstract ideas (e.g. 食べたことありますか?), whereas の can be much more abstract.


This sounds like you put the pen in your bag and then didn't forgot about something while/because you were doing so. The "something" could be the placing of the pen or anything else depending on the context.

So both 1 and 2 can work, but I think sentence 2 is the most natural sounding.

  • 2
    「忘れなくてカバンにペンを入れました。」はおかしいです。 – Chocolate Jan 26 '17 at 0:43
  • Does 忘れなくて sound weird to you with a prior established context of something along the lines of [覚えようとしたことを]? I agree that it's not a particularly appealing option most of the time, but was admittedly more interested in juxtaposing なくて's nuance against that of ないで. – vel Jan 26 '17 at 7:54
  • 1
    With or without 「覚えようとしたことを」, 「忘れなくて カバンにペンを入れました」 makes little sense. 「忘れずにカバンにペンを入れました。」「忘れないでカバンにペンを入れました。」 or 「カバンにペンを入れるのを忘れませんでした。」 would make sense. What did you try to say by 覚えようとしたことを忘れなくて, by the way? I'd interpret it as "Not forgetting what I tried to memorize/learn." – Chocolate Jan 26 '17 at 8:17

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.