What is the meaning of "of" in the following sentence,

This song reminds me of your children.

Why should we use "of" after "remind me"?

What is the difference between "This song reminds me your children" and "This song reminds me of your children" and "This song reminds your children to me"?


This song reminds me of your children.

Here in this sentence the verb - remind - takes two complements - me and of your children. One is a Noun Phrase (NP), and the other is a Preposition Phrase (PP).

The first complement expresses who is being reminded, and the second complement expresses what is being reminded.

Let's focus on the PP - of your children. Here the head Preposition is of and it takes a NP - your children as it's own complement. There is no meaning of the head preposition - of - here. We call this use Grammaticised use of Preposition. We can't change this preposition to something else, that means this preposition is fixed when it comes to the complement of the verb - remind.

The alternative sentences you provided was all wrong, except the one I quoted at the beginning of my answer.


You need to understand the phrase remind me of as a whole; it means bring to mind or calls up my memories of.

See the phrase defined at the Cambridge Dictionary:

remind sb of sth/sb

to be similar to, and make someone think of, something or someone else:

Your hair and eyes remind me of your mother.

I never wear grey because it reminds me of my old school uniform.

You remind me of someone I used to know.

I liked her immediately because she reminded me of Sally.

He reminds me of my dad.

Something about her manner reminds me of an old school teacher I used to have.

  • Well. That's the explanation I've heard for decades. So what does "of" mean? Should be we just using "of" grammatically although "of" is meaningless? If "of" is meaningless, does it pass the same meaning without "of"? – user22046 Apr 27 '17 at 14:57
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    Of is the preposition that English idiom requires to link reminds me to the object or person concerned. It's simply wrong to say: reminds me you or reminds me our holiday. The word of serves as the necessary link between the person being reminded and the person/object that doing the reminding. – Ronald Sole Apr 27 '17 at 15:05
  • I have very little ability to judge right and wrong grammatically. However, I have been seriously embarrassing if a preposition that can not be interpreted in a sentence enters. – user22046 Apr 27 '17 at 15:41
  • Remind is a transitive verb. Then, should not we use "remind + indirect object + direct object"? Do not we use the other transitive verb like this (verb + indirect object + direct object)? If only "remind" can not use like this, why? For example, what is the difference in the meaning between "I give her a book" and "I give her of a book" ? what is the difference in the meaning between "This song reminds me your children" and "This song reminds me of your children." ? – user22046 Apr 27 '17 at 15:44

No, you can't use remind in the form [subject] remind [indirect object] [direct object].

I've been searching for a while and I've been unable to find a good resource explaining it, so I've come up with the following myself (so parts of it may well be wrong). It can be summarised by saying "that's just how remind is used in English".

The best way I can think of explaining it is that the verb remind is always followed by its direct object, which I guess makes it a monotransitive verb, which is a verb that can't take an indirect object. (DISCLAIMER: the previous sentence is the bit I'm not quite sure about, someone more knowledgeable may end up refuting this.) However, as more explanation is usually required when using "remind" (to explain what should be, is being or was remembered), it can be followed by either:

  • Nothing, if the thing being remembered has already been established (e.g. "Thanks for reminding me"),
  • A prepositional phrase (usually using "of", but sometimes "about"), if a "thing" (i.e. noun or noun phrase) is being remembered (e.g. "You remind me of my sister" or "Remind him about dinner at the weekend"),
  • A to-infinitive, if an action is being remembered (e.g. "Remind me to reply to that email"), or
  • A "that" clause, if the thing being remembered forms a clause (e.g. "She reminded me that the conference is on Tuesday"). Sometimes the "that" is left out, but is still implicit (e.g. "I reminded him (that) we are meeting tomorrow")

Therefore, out of the possible sentences you have provided, only the one that includes "of" is grammatically correct. The example with "to" in is using "to" as a preposition, so is not correct. It would be correct if it was used in a to-infinitive, e.g. "This song reminds your children to call me".

  • One of the things I'm not sure about is whether the prepositional phrase/to-infinitive phrase/that-clause is the direct object for the verb remind... – SteveES Apr 27 '17 at 16:47
  • The direct object here is "me". I think remind is a complex-monotransitive verb that needs an obligatory adverbial to answer "What does the song remind me of?" Disclaimer: I'm not fairly sure that I'm right, maybe some folks like StoneyB or BillJ would come and correct me. – user178049 Apr 28 '17 at 4:13

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