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    • Join Date: May 2008
    • Posts: 1,157
    #1

    "recognize" and "place"

    Hello.

    - He looks familiar, but I can’t place him.
    Can I say "recognize" in place place?

    - I could hear music in the background, but the tune was difficult to place.
    Can I say "recognize" in place of place?

    - I hardly recognized you with a beard!
    Can I say "placed" in place of recognized?

    - I recognized the house from your description.
    Can I say "placed" in place of recognized?

    - Asthma sufferers soon learn to recognize the symptoms of an attack.
    Can I say "place" in place of recognize?

    - I thought I recognized her voice!
    Can I say "placed" in place of recognized?

    Thank you.


    • Join Date: Aug 2009
    • Posts: 1,131
    #2

    Re: "recognize" and "place"

    I don't think the expressions are interchangeable.

    "To recognize" means to be aware of familiarity.

    "Yo place" means to fix into the proper context.

    So you can recognize someone without being able to "place" him -- without being able to say HOW you have come to recognize him. This occurs when you see a familiar face in an utterly unexpected location -- your mailman is in your classroom, or a kid in a TV commercial is in the local library.

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    - He looks familiar, but I canít place him.
    Can I say "recognize" in place place?

    No, I don't think so. By saying "He looks familiar," you have already stated that you "recognize" him -- at least partially. But pointing out that you can't "place" him merely means that you can't quite think where you know him from.
    ------
    - I could hear music in the background, but the tune was difficult to place.
    Can I say "recognize" in place of place?

    Well, yes, you can say either one with perfect logic, but they won't mean the same thing.

    - I could hear music in the background, but the tune was difficult to place.
    This suggests that you have heard this music before (which you know because you recognize the melody), but you can't think just now of WHERE you had last heard it. This would be a possible plot element in a suspenseful story -- "Where oh where have I heard this music before???"

    - I could hear music in the background, but the tune was difficult to regocnize.
    This suggests that the music was too far away, to faint, too distorted to be identified -- you would not be able to hum this tune.
    -----------
    - I hardly recognized you with a beard!
    Can I say "placed" in place of recognized?

    No, I don't think so. The point of the sentence is that a familiar person's appearance has been greatly altered -- so now he is barely recognizable. That's not the same as saying that you cannot presently think of this person's usual context in your life (which does not depend on his beard).
    ----------
    - I recognized the house from your description.
    Can I say "placed" in place of recognized?

    No, I don't think so. You could hardly fail to be aware of the house's PLACE (location) -- or even its context (It belongs to the person you are speaking to). So it is "recognition" -- the awareness of familiarity -- that is the point of this sentence, not "place" (context).
    ----------
    - Asthma sufferers soon learn to recognize the symptoms of an attack.
    Can I say "place" in place of recognize?

    Not at all. They can "place" their symptoms precisely -- in the chest. It is the awareness of their familiarity that is spoken of in this sentence.

    There is a movement currently in psychology to encourage acting-out children to show on their bodies where they feel their emotions -- anger might be felt in the head, anxiety in the stomach, etc. The idea is to help them become conscious of their feelings as a step toward articulating them instead of merely blindly behaving on them. In this sense you might be able to say "The children soon learned to place their feelings in the appropriate parts of their bodies." But that is a sentence whose meaning is different from the one you posted.
    -----------
    - I thought I recognized her voice!
    Can I say "placed" in place of recognized?

    Either sentence would make logical sense, but their meanings would be different.

    > "I thought I placed her voice as the one I heard coming from the murdered man's bedroom!"
    - This means that you heard this voice before, that you recognize it now that you hear it again, AND that you know just WHERE you heard it before.
    - - - -
    > "I thought I recognized her voice! I can't believe I was THAT close to such a famous diva!"
    - This means that you suddenly became aware that the voice was a familiar one -- Whitney Houston right next to you in Saks Fifth Avenue!


    • Join Date: Jul 2009
    • Posts: 2,036
    #3

    Re: "recognize" and "place"

    Quote Originally Posted by Daruma View Post
    Hello.

    - He looks familiar, but I can’t place him.
    Can I say "recognize" in place place?

    - I could hear music in the background, but the tune was difficult to place.
    Can I say "recognize" in place of place?

    - I hardly recognized you with a beard!
    Can I say "placed" in place of recognized?

    - I recognized the house from your description.
    Can I say "placed" in place of recognized?

    - Asthma sufferers soon learn to recognize the symptoms of an attack.
    Can I say "place" in place of recognize?

    - I thought I recognized her voice!
    Can I say "placed" in place of recognized?

    Thank you.
    No, "placed" does not work as a synonym for "recognized". In your example sentences "place" means to find where something is in your memory or in your experience, which in effect could mean to recognize. However, the two verbs are not interchangeable here. It's a good questions, however. And I can understand why you would think it might be possible to use "placed" instead of "recognized".

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