Does `remembered to do` imply doing it



I remembered to lock the door.

When I use remember this way, does it always imply that I actually did the action. Maybe I can use it in the sense "didn't forget" -- I just remembered to do something, but didn't do it. For example:

I remembered to call him, but the phone was broken so I couldn't do it.

I remembered to take the medicine but decided not to.


Posted 2014-02-12T04:26:52.270

Reputation: 7 310

2Remember in this case (and not in remembering someone where the act is complete) means that you just remembered it. You'll have to then clarify that you acted as well! – Maulik V – 2014-02-12T04:55:19.017

Great question, I never really paid attention to it, but always assumed that remembered to implied the action was done. For example, in this sentence: Whenever my dad goes out of town for work, he always remembers to call mom every day. It sounds rather comical if this means he only "remembers" to call mom, but doesn't necessarily do it. – Masked Man – 2014-02-12T05:40:36.827



Simply remembered to does not imply going through with that action. It must be specified whether or not the action was taken. For e.g. I remembered to lock the door after I reached the office would mean that in effect, the door was not locked. So, baseline, remembered to in itself does not imply that the action was indeed carried out.


Posted 2014-02-12T04:26:52.270

Reputation: 658

2This is fun! He never/always remembered to lock the door when he lived in a hostel suggests the action (of not locking!) is completed always! – Maulik V – 2014-02-12T05:15:52.023

Edit - ...(of not locking/locking) is completed... – Maulik V – 2014-02-12T05:29:12.517

4@MaulikV Perhaps we could call it an implicature--a cancellable implication. We assume that the locking actually happens, absent evidence to the contrary. But in examples like the one in this answer, we do have evidence to the contrary, so the implication is cancelled. – snailplane – 2014-02-12T05:53:02.247

1+1 I agree with snailplane. I would even suggest that in this case it's a <b> very strong </b> implicature-- we would normally say "He only remembered that he was supposed to lock the door after he got to the office." And it would be fraud to say "I remembered to return the your money this morning" if you had not yet returned it! – hunter – 2014-02-12T14:23:22.720

To me, you saying "I remembered to lock the door after I reached the office" means that you locked the office door. – Hellion – 2014-02-19T04:02:57.693

yes. That is one interpretation. But it also could mean that one remembered to lock the door after reaching office, and hence had initially forgotten to lock it. – Stark07 – 2014-02-19T05:30:17.583


Great question. I'm a native English speaker and if another native English speaker told me "I remembered to ...." then I would assume that he did the action even though it's not logically implied. But if he said "I remembered that I needed to ..." then it leaves open the question whether the action was done.


Posted 2014-02-12T04:26:52.270

Reputation: 111


As a native English speaker, I would say yes, if you say "I remembered to (do something)", then you did that something.

You can, as noted, qualify that with a "but" phrase that spells out what went differently than intended. Without any other qualifiers, though, "remembered to" always implies that the stated action was performed.


Posted 2014-02-12T04:26:52.270

Reputation: 18 009