In the lesson you say:
"There is no difference in meaning. Using one or the other depends on what the person is used to; some regions in Spain use one form more than the other, but both are correct."
However, I always believed their is difference that exists between the two:
Olvidar = to forget by accident
1) Siempre olvido las llaves del coche = I always forget my car keys
2) ¡Ay no, olvidé hacer los deberes! = Oh no, I forgot to do the homework! (olvidar+infinitive)
Olvidarse de = to forget by choice, on purpose.
1) Ella se olvidó de sus problemas de dinero y se fue de compras = She forgot about her money problems and went shopping anyway (she chose to forget)
2) Solo quiero olvidarme de arruinar la fiesta de cumpleaños de mi hermano = I just want to forget about ruining my brother's birthday party (he's trying to forget)
I've always thought of it like the 'se' is indicating that someone is doing something to his/herself (like ducharse, bañarse etc). I'm unsure where I learned this!
The accidental 'se' part is new to me
There may be a little nuance between these two uses, one reflecting more responsability towards the forgetting (olvidar).
I tried to use the reflexive form in the sentences you gave for "olvidar" and they both sound equally correct to me:
Siempre olvido las llaves del coche.
Siempre me olvido de las llaves del coche.
The second one, that is correct to use too, doesn't make me think that it is less intentional or reflects less responsibility...
But it's interesting though... Maybe that nuance is quite technical and in practice we use them indifferently.
"Maybe that nuance is quite technical and in practice we use them indifferently." I understand you very well! Some of my English students in Japan used to do exactly the same thing to me with grammar points... jaja! It is always interesting how another thinks about one's native language though. Thanks
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