KGYSAK - 잊어버리다 vs 잃어버리다

I'm not the only one who gets these switched up. Thankfully, it's not nearly as a unintelligible as, say flipping the word "pork" for "fork" in English (think "Use a pork at the table") but it is important to make sure to say the right word. Yes, even some Koreans get these two words mixed up but that isn't much of bragging rights; it still carries the connotation that you're an idiot that doesn't know the difference between "to lose something" and "to forget". There are some situations where the meaning is similar so just be sure to use the right verb with the right situation.

Confusing examples:

어제 집에서 핸드폰을 잊어버렸어.
I left (forgot) my phone at home yesterday.
대안: 어제 핸드폰을 안 가져왔어요.
alt: I didn't bring my phone with me today.

어제 집에서 핸드폰을 잃어버렸어.
I lost my phone at home yesterday.
대안: 어제 내 핸드폰이 없어졌어요.
alt: My phone disappeared (went missing) yesterday.

Non-confusing examples:

ATM 비밀을 엊어버렸어요...
I forgot my ATM password

아들을 잃어버렸어요!
I lost my son!


I tried to think of a mnemonic to remember which one is which but there isn't one that sticks to me. The only thing I can do to remember which one is which is by thinking how are they spelled. 잊 and 잃. 잊어 sounds like /ee joe/ which reminds me of when I was a kid and I would forget to clean up my G.I.Joes. I never lost them, though. 잃어 sounds like /ee loh/ which reminds me of a kilo, as in a kilogram, as in losing weight, as in "I lost ten kilo(s)" 이러 = kilo.

no? then just memorize it:

잊어버렸어요 I forgot
엃어버렸어요 I lost it