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Both Erinnerung and Gedächtnis can be translated into English as "memory". Are there instances where you would use one word and not the other?

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Both "die Erinnerung" and "das Gedächtnis" can be used to express "in memory of somebody/something":

In Erinnerung an die Schlacht von ...

Im Gedenken an unseren Großvater ...

The second sounds a bit more formal, but otherwise their meaning is rather the same.

"Das Gedächtnis" can also be used to express "the memory":

Sein Gedächtnis ist nicht mehr das beste, er hat Anzeichen von Alzheimer.

Here, "Erinnerung" would not fit well.

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in the last example, you could replace Gedächtnis with Erinnerungsvermögen – Christoph Jan 25 '14 at 10:12
furthermore: "Die Erinerrung" is the memory of a single "happening" and "Das Gedächtnis" is the place where all the memories are "stored" – Vogel612 Jan 25 '14 at 13:42

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