Leave and forget are often used incorrectly. Sometimes even native speakers get it wrong. Keep reading to find out the difference between leave and forget in English.

Ms Stephens is running late today.

When she got to the train station she realized that she had forgotten her handbag.

She left it in the hallway at home and had to go back to get it.

Hopefully she hasn’t left anything else behind.


Leave or Forget

We say leave/foregt + noun when we don’t remember to bring something with us. They have the same meaning, but we use them differently.

  • use forget when you don’t say where the item is
Ms Stephens forgot her handbag.
  • use leave when you want to say where the item is
She left her handbag in the hallway. (not: She forget her handbag in the hallway.)
  • use leave, but not forget, when the action is deliberate
Today, Ms Stephens is leaving the car at home and taking the train to work.

You might also be interested in the difference between Let/Leave.