Each of these three words is only confusing because they relate to memory and they resemble each other. This is how you can tell the difference:
Recall means to call again on something in your mind. In other words, it means to think of it again. If you recall the summer that you spent with your siblings at your grandparents’ house, for example, that is recall.
It usually is used when you are trying to think of something like a story that you want to share with other people. A second definition is when someone (usually a company) wants you to return their products for compensation.
This is usually because it has been found to be dangerous, and they want to prevent more people from getting hurt. For this second definition, recall can be either a verb or a noun.
- I have fond memories to recall when it comes to getting together with my family during the holidays.
- When Garrett asked me to recall when I started taking piano lessons, I had to think long and hard about it.
- The cracker company had to recall a specific batch of cookies because the cookies had been contaminated by a poison.
To remember something means to bring something into your awareness. This is very similar to recall, and in most cases you can substitute them for each other without causing confusion.
However, in general, you recall something that has happened to you and you want to share with someone else. If you remember, that can apply to anything that you have to bring up in your mind again.
- Steve could not remember where he put his keys after he came home last night.
- If you are looking for something, ask Polly to see if she remembers seeing it anywhere.
If you remind someone of something, it means to cause someone to remember something. It almost always involves two people, because one person wants someone else to remember it. This is what you want to do for yourself when you set an alarm, or when you write down notes for you or someone else to review later.
- Please remind me to look at our mail when we get home.
- The purpose of the media is to remind people about the important issues happening in their community, city, state, country, and even world.
Don’t be afraid to use some of these words in the same sentence:
- I want to remind you to take notes so you can remember what you learn today.
- Can you recall the ways that you wanted to do this, or do I need to remind you of them?