I came across a sentence in Spanish as follows:

Voy a anotar lo que tengo que comprar porque, sino se me va a olvidar.

I know overall what it means in English, but where does the "se me" come from? If it's "I'm going to...," why isn't "Voy a olvidar..." used here?

Is it "olvidárseme" but with the pronouns segregated? (Please be patient with me, I am obviously very confused.)

  • 5
    It is explained here. "Olvidar" can be used in three different ways (transitive, reflexive, and reflexive with the subject being the forgotten thing). Your example is the last case (number 4 in the linked answer): the forgotten thing is the subject, the verb is reflexive ("olvidarse"), and "me" is the indirect object and refers to the person who forgets.
    – wimi
    Jan 10, 2022 at 18:45
  • it comes from the infinitive: olvidarse de algo. Or: olvidármelo. Translated with a future: otherwise, I will forget. That's just the way it is.
    – Lambie
    Jan 10, 2022 at 19:17
  • @wimi If I could upvote you I would. Thank you so much! Jan 10, 2022 at 19:52
  • @wimi In this case, what is the subject of olvidarse? Also, I asked my abuela if "olvidárseme" would be correct, and she hesitantly said yes but that it sounded extremely awkward/unusual. Why's that? I was taught in class that this construction would be perfectly fine. Jan 10, 2022 at 20:13
  • 1
    @SebastianPojman-Malo the subject is what is forgotten, i.e., "lo que tengo que comprar" in this case. You can say and write "olvidárseme": the sentence "se me va a olvidar" is the same as "va a olvidárseme", but the second one indeed sounds very unnatural. I did not write an answer because I think pablodf76's answer explains it very well :) I personally think the use of "se me ha olvidado la lista" instead of "he olvidado la lista" makes it sound less "at fault", as the subject is the thing instead of the person. But that is a personal opinion...
    – wimi
    Jan 10, 2022 at 22:25

2 Answers 2


The use of "Olvidar" is for a subject (an object or a person) to make oneself forgotten to the object.

"Se me olvidó comprar la leche" literally translates to "Buying the milk made itself forgotten to me"


In 'Se me' the subject is Eso (that, it) (what will be forgotten, to write down the shopping list)

'Me' is reflexive, (to me).

Va a olvidar = is going to forget

So in some word by word translation it would be Se me va a olvidar That / to me / is going to forget

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