Forget or Leave?

It often happens that these two words can be confused. We should use forget something and leave something differently.

Is it right to say: “I’ve forgotten my umbrella at home”?

No, it’s a mistake.

We should not use the word forget if we give the place (at home, on the table, in a car, etc.), instead we use leave.

Compare these two examples:

I’ve forgotten my umbrella.


I’ll have to go back, I’ve forgotten my purse.

I’ve left my umbrella at home.


Dad, you always leave your car keys on your desk.



We use leave when we describe our intention, i.e. state that the action is desirable:

We decided to leave the dog at home.

I left those books in the office because they’re too heavy to carry. I’ll bring them home in the car next week.


More examples:

George had forgotten his box of Filibuster fireworks. (J. Rowling)

I wish I hadn’t left my copy at home, but I couldn’t fit it in my trunk with all the Lockhart books. (J. Rowling)

Professor McGonagall told Harry to wait and left him there, alone. (J. Rowling)

Harry left the Invisibility Cloak on Hagrid’s table. (J. Rowling)

“We forgot something”, she said matter-of-factly. (D. Steele)

They agreed to leave the keys on the seat. (D. Steele)

The old man explains that he has forgotten his wallet… (Roald Dahl)

The little man shifted his umbrella from one hand to the other. “I’ve never forgotten it before”, he said. “You’ve never forgotten what?” my mother asked sternly.  (Roald Dahl)

“My wallet”, he said. “I must have left it in my other jacket…” (Roald Dahl)

Then he unbuttoned the coat and felt around in his jacket…“I must’ve left it in my bedroom. I won’t be a moment”. (Roald Dahl)

“Oh Jem. I forgot my money”, I sighed, when I saw them (Harper Lee)

“I forgot my shoes, they’re back behind the stage”. (Harper Lee)