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When do you suggest to use "dimenticare" and when "scordare"? Is "dimenticare" only for reasonings or also valid for people?

E.g.

Avevo dimenticato il tuo viso

Avevo scordato il tuo viso

Secondo voi?

  • Doesn't the fact that scordare is the opposite of ricordare (to remember) come into this discussion? Also, wouldn't it be more correct to refer to these verb infinitives as reflexive (i.e. scordarsi)? – user2095 Jan 11 '16 at 13:38
  • @davidino: As for your second remark: no, both scordare and dimenticare can be used both as transitive verbs (Ho dimenticato/scordato l'asciugamano a casa) and reflexive ones (Mi sono dimenticato/scordato di avvertire Gigi). – DaG Jan 11 '16 at 17:56
  • There's an interesting discussion about 'scordare' and 'dimenticare' at Word Reference also. – Davide May 28 '17 at 19:39
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Yes, they have the same meaning and both could be used in your examples.
Nonetheless, there is a little difference in the meaning due to their Latin origins.

  • dimenticare comes from the word mens, mentis (mind) with the prefix de- (distance). To forget something would be to get it out of one's mind.
  • scordare comes from the word cor (heart) with the prefix s- (meaning again distance or cancellation). To forget something would be to get it out of one's heart.

That's why you can say ho dimenticato/scordato il tuo viso but you would usually say il primo amore non si scorda mai.

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    Just for clarity, mentis and cor are Latin words. I think you shouldn't say "you can only say..." when you mention that sentence, it is a well-known saying that goes like that, and there is this reason about the heart behind the usage of scordare there, but it wouldn't be grammatically wrong to use dimenticare. – martina Nov 7 '13 at 20:04
  • @martina I said exactly about their Latin origin, didn't I? Regarding the saying, yes, dimenticare could be grammatically correct but nobody would say it this way and I've been trying to explain why. – I.M. Nov 7 '13 at 20:22
  • ok, that wasn't a criticism. As for the Latin, sorry, I didn't notice. As for the sentence, I just wanted to remark that it's a fixed saying. – martina Nov 7 '13 at 20:27
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    @I.M. The sentence "il primo amore non si dimentica mai" is correct and widely used :-) google.co.uk/… – They call me Trinity Nov 8 '13 at 7:47
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    @TheycallmeTrinity OK, thanks. I take your arguments and I've edited the answer. Nonetheless, I would never use dimenticare in that sentence myself. Not only because it's a fixed saying, as martina said in her comment above, but because of its meaning: you can actually forget your first love (dimenticare), you may even not think about it for years, but you can never fully get it out from the depths of your heart (scordare). – I.M. Nov 8 '13 at 10:19
6

You can use them both interchangeably, they basically mean the same thing, although scordare may also be referred to an instrument that is out of tune.

Despite the fact that people believe scodare is less formal than dimenticare, it is not in fact exclusively part of any regional vocabulary and each region applies its own peculiarities to this verb when in use.

For further reading on this matter, please refer to this page on the Accademia della Crusca website.

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When I was a kid, my teacher would correct "scordare" by saying "you are not a guitar". The joke was that "scordare" sounds like the opposite of "accordare" (to tune). Because of this early imprinting, I tend to use "dimenticare" but I noticed that "scordare" is being used more and more in everyday Italian.

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