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Apparently, вспоминать can be followed by о + the prepositional or directly by the accusative. How do I know which construction I should use? Or are both constructions possible in any context? Do they have exactly the same meaning?

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вспоминать + acc. means "to remember something", вспоминать о means "to remember about something (that it exists)".

They can be interchangeable in some contexts indeed, but here are some examples where they're not:

Only вспоминать о works:

  • Собираясь на пикник, стоит вспомнить о фольге, завернуть в нее многие продукты. [М. Володина. О фольге // «Сочи», 2002.08.22].
    When packing for a picnic, you'll do well to remember that tin foil is a thing and use it to wrap a lot of the fare.
  • Зэк то и дело вспоминал о своем помешательстве. [Сергей Довлатов. Чемодан (1986)].
    Every now and then, the inmate remembered that he was supposed to be insane.

Only вспоминать + acc. works:

  • Я подумаю о роли, я вспомню текст и забуду этот сон. [Сергей Юрский. Бумажник Хофманна (1993)].
    I'll think about the part, I'll recollect my lines and I'll forget this dream.
  • Я, кстати, вспомнил фамилию того писателя. Вирмашев. [Ю. О. Домбровский. Ручка, ножка, огуречик (1977)].
    By the way, that author's last name came back to me; it's Virmashev.

Either works:

  • Вспомним спор между Лейбницем и Ньютоном о приоритете в исчислении бесконечно малых величин. [Фридрих Горенштейн. Куча (1982) // «Октябрь», 1996].
    Let's remember the dispute between Leibniz and Newton about the priority in infinitesimal calculus.
  • Те, кто в теме, вспомнят о доме № 40 по улице Зенцова. [Анатолий Чечуха. Детство Рудольфа. К 80-летию Р. Х. Нуреева // «Бельские просторы», 2018].
    Those in the loop will remember the house at 40 Ulitsa Zentsova.
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  • Your English is phenomenal. I wonder if you've ever heard of the site Journaly.com, where you can write about anything and get corrections from natives right inside the text. It's really something. You should check it out, and if you join, let me know and I'll be happy to edit you.
    – CocoPop
    Nov 9, 2023 at 15:31
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    @CocoPop: thanks!
    – Quassnoi
    Nov 9, 2023 at 15:45

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