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huí yì
v./n. to recollect, to call to mind, to recall; memory
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回忆 vs 回想: these two words are very similar and can be used interchangeably in some situations. What are their differences?

1. 回忆 is "to recall, to call to mind", especially something that happened long ago, back in the past. 回忆 can be used as a noun. 回忆 is also more formal compared to 回想, used more often in written Chinese.
2. 回想 is "to remember, to think back" something that happened in the past, both recent or long ago. Because here 想 (to think) appears as a component (a morpheme, to be more exact) of this verb, we use 回想 more often when the action itself has a duration. Note that 回想 is only a verb, not a noun.


Examples where both can be used:
1. 我们经常回忆 (or 回想)起小时候的事情。 We often recall the events of our childhood.
2. 面对破产他回想 (or 回忆) 起了过去的辉煌。Facing with bankruptcy he recalled the past glories.

Example where only 回忆 is used:
* 回忆 is used as a noun:
我们之间有很多美好的回忆。We, between us, share many happy memories.

Examples where 回想 is:
* When something happened recently, 回想 is more appropriate:
1. 要开始做饭时候我突然回想起上周六忘了买菜。When I was about to cook, I suddently recalled that I forgot to do grocery last Saturday.
* When the action lasts for a while, 回想 is better (回忆 also works, but 回想 sounds better):
2. 他回想了一番当年的辉煌,决定不再沉湎于过去。He thought about the glory a couple of years back and decided not to drown himself in the past.
lisaC
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