The verb olvidar in Spanish is one of the trickiest verbs for our students at According to the Dictionary of La Real Academia, when a person stops holding something or someone in his or her mind, he or she has forgotten it. Therefore, the problem is not in its meaning, but in its form. This verb can be formed with three different structures. Although its meaning hardly changes, the intention of the speaker does change subtly. Let’s see how to form the verb olvidar in Spanish.

The verb olvidar in Spanish: transitive form

The verb olvidar can be transitive. This means that it needs a direct object to complete its meaning. The subject of the verb is the person who has forgotten, so it agrees in number and person with the verb.

Lo siento, he olvidado la conjugación del presente de subjuntivo.

In the example above, the speaker does not remember the conjugation and acknowledges that the person most responsible for the forgetfulness is himself; perhaps he should have studied more. As we can see, the person who has forgotten something (“yo”) agrees with the verb (“he he olvidado”).

Intransitive form of the verb olvidar

You can also use the verb olvidar in Spanish in an intransitive and pronominal form. Intransitive verbs do not require a direct object to be formed. When olvidar is intransitive, it needs a reflexive pronoun and a complement with a preposition (“de”). This makes it very easy for students to confuse its form; they either forget the pronoun or the preposition.

Lo siento, me he olvidado de la conjugación del presente de subjuntivo.

On this occasion, the speakers, although they aware of their responsibility, they want to offload some of the blame. The subject of the verb is still the person who has forgotten the conjugation (“yo”) and agrees with the verb (“he olvidado”).

The verb olvidar in Spanish: intransitive, pronominal and middle voice

The last form we are going to study for the verb olvidar in Spanish is the most complex. In this variant, the verb is again intransitive, but this time its structure is similar to the verb gustar. Consequently, the subject of the verb is not the person who forgets something, but that which has been forgotten. Moreover, it always needs the reflexive pronoun “se”, regardless of the person. Because of this, this variant of the verb olvidar is preceded by two pronouns: the pronoun “se” and the indirect object pronoun. However, it does not use a preposition.

Lo siento, se me ha olvidado la conjugación del presente de subjuntivo.

As we can see, the verb (“ha olvidado”) does not agree with the person (“yo”), but it is in the third person. In this case, the subject is “the conjugation of the present subjunctive”. When we use this structure, the person rejects his or her responsibility for the forgotten thing. This is due to the use of the middle voice, introduced by the pronoun “se”. This modality is halfway between the active voice and the passive voice. The action arises involuntarily from the person and the person cannot control it.

En consecuencia, el verbo olvidar en español puede parecer sencillo, pero tiene unas sutilezas que lo hacen difícil de construir. Si quieres practicarlo con un profesor experto, reserva ya tu clase aquí. ¿Quieres disfrutar de una clase de prueba antes? No hay ningún problema. Por cierto, que no se te olvide dejar tus comentarios debajo.

Consequently, the verb olvidar in Spanish may seem simple, but it has some subtleties that make it difficult to construct. If you want to practice it with an expert teacher, reserve your class here. Do you want to enjoy a trial class before? No problem. By the way, que no se te olvide to leave your comments below.