'forget' vs 'forget about'

Hi,
What’s the difference between ‘forget’ and ‘forget about’?

Many thanks
Nessie

She forgot her purse. = She forgot to bring her purse with her.

She forgot about her purse. = She forgot that her purse existed or was there.

??

Let’s forget the past and move on. OK?
Let’s forget about the past and move on. OK?

A:Thanks for your help.
B: Forget it, it was nothing/Forget about it, it was nothing.

Just my two cents:

Let’s forget the past and move on. OK? = Let’s forget what happened in the past and move on. OK? (direct)

Let’s forget about the past and move on. OK? = Let’s forget what is on your mind about the past and move on. OK? (indirect)

It’s awkward to me. Better would be something like, “Let’s clear our minds of the past and move on.”

Molly’s examples state exactly what I want to ask. May I have a clearer clarification, please?

Hi Nessie,

‘Forget’ on its own simply means ‘not remember’. I forgot my password - Have you forgotten your password? When you add ‘about’, you are talking more generally to suggest 'dismiss/remove from your memory. A conversation:

A I have forgotten my password.
B Don’t you remember that you put all your passwords on a sheet of paper?
A Yes, you’re right. I’d forgotten about that.

Alan

Alan’s explanation convinced me thoroughly. :slight_smile:

Same here :stuck_out_tongue:

Not really same here though:

How about this:
A: Let’s go to the zoo!
B: How about the homework?
A: Forget it/ Forget about it. Tomorrow is sunday, isn’t it?

=> According to Alan’s explaination, “forget about it” should be chosen here, but I’ve heard the version “forget it” used many times.

Regards
O.

You could make your answer both ways but they are still different. Here, ‘forget it’, as Alan indicated, suggests ‘don’t remind me of that’ = don’t remember it as to carry it to me while ‘forget about it’ = no need to keep that in your memory = remove that from your memory.

I would look at it slightly differently from Molly and Alan:

  1. To forget X.
  2. To forget about X.

The preposition “about” can mean “concerning”, “relating to”, “with regard to”, etc.

Thus #1 means “to forget X itself”; whereas #2 means “to forget that which relates to X”.

Cf.

  1. To forget all about X.

i.e. “to forget everything that relates to X”.

If I say “I forgot my passport”, for example, I mean “I forgot the passport itself”. But if I say “I forgot about my passport”, I mean “I forgot something that relates to my passport”, e.g.

A: “Why don’t we go to Singapore next weekend.”
B: “That’s a good idea. But I thought your passport had expired…”
C: “Damn. I’d forgotten about my passport.”

(In some contexts, of course, both are possible.)

MrP

How about,

  1. “forgot the passport” = “forgot the passport itself”
  2. “forgot about the passport” = “forgot the passport thing”

How does that apply here?

A:Thanks for your help.
B: Forget it, it was nothing/Forget about it, it was nothing.

Hi,

I can’t see the ‘slight difference’ you give in your lengthy answer.

Alan

Neither can I.

These could mean the same, right?

  1. You’re working late! How could you forget that we’re going out to dinner tonight?

  2. You’re working late! How could you forget about going out to dinner tonight?

  3. And you can forget going to that party tonight, young man! I told you that if you didn’t do your homework, I wouldn’t let you go.

  4. And you can forget about going to that party tonight, young man! I told you that if you didn’t do your homework, I wouldn’t let you go.

Does that mean that you can’t see any ‘slight difference’ between your answer and MrP’s? Or does that mean you can’t see any ‘slight difference’ between ‘forget about’ and ‘forget’? :?
.

Hello Haihao,

I think “forgot the passport thing” would be quite an unusual way of putting it; though in some contexts, “forgot the passport business” might convey the same meaning.

All the best,

MrP

As I said earlier:

“In some contexts, of course, both are possible.”

MrP