My Japanese friend asked me if the following is grammatically correct.

"Did you forget contacting the embassy yesterday?"

To me, it sounds really awkward. I want to change it to "Did you forget that you had to contact the embassy yesterday?"

But my friend wants to keep the "Did you forget + ~ing" structure. How do I make this work?

What if I just make the sentence like this?

"Did you forget contacting the embassy?" (to leave out the word YESTERDAY)

  • 4
    I would use "Did you forget to contact the embassy yesterday?" – Robusto Oct 21 '17 at 7:04
  • To forget to do smth. = to not remember to do smth. that you ought to do, so I completely agree with Robusto. – Yulia Oct 21 '17 at 7:24

But my friend wants to keep the "Did you forget + ~ing" structure.

This is not a good goal. "To forget contacting" implies that you did contact them, and then forgot that you did it.

Your suggestion is correct:

Did you forget that you had to contact the embassy yesterday?

So is this slightly shorter version:

Did you forget to contact the embassy yesterday?

If your friend is absolutely determined (for some reason) to retain "forget [x]ing", this is an idiomatic construction that works:

Did you forget about contacting the embassy yesterday?

It is still not ideal, because it could have either meaning ("you didn't contact them" versus "you contacted them and then forgot it"). However, the latter meaning would be a very unusual thing (unless you were talking to someone with a medical issue affecting memory!), so listeners will almost always assume the former meaning.


The complement of forget can be a clause introduced by an -ing form also in imperatives and similar constructions:

Forget going to the dance this weekend. You're grounded for skipping class, young lady.

You can forget having your friends over. I asked you to straighten up this room, but it's still a complete mess. What's that dirty sock doing in the coffee mug?

Forget taking the train into the city. Yet again, there's some "signaling problem" on the line and it is running 45 minutes late.

You should stop thinking about something (which you wanted to do or expected to do) because it is not going to happen.

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