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    #1

    Realize

    Hi,

    As part of the classroom activity I have to ask the students to make sentences with different words. One such word which has always been problematic is "realize", as a synonym for "understand".

    I used to formulate the usage of "realize" like this: After "realize" we must use a noun clause. But when I encountered the following example in a dictionary, the formulation evaporated:

    "Do you realize your mistake?"

    So based on the above example it's OK to use noun phrases after realize. But what about pronouns? Aren't they replacements for nouns?

    Some of the sentences that my students make are like this:

    Do you realize me?
    I don't realize you.

    I feel these sentences are not right. But I'm not sure whether they are or aren't and can't explain why.

    Can anyone help me with this?

  1. BobK's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Realize

    They're not. Many of us don't feel "Do you realize your mistake?" is OK either, though it's common. '"Do you recognize your mistake?" would make more sense to me. Grammarians who accept '...realize your mistake' presumably see it as an elided form of '"Do you realize [that you have made a] mistake?"

    b

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    #3

    Re: Realize

    Quote Originally Posted by caminostro View Post
    Hi,

    As part of the classroom activity I have to ask the students to make sentences with different words. One such word which has always been problematic is "realize", as a synonym for "understand".

    I used to formulate the usage of "realize" like this: After "realize" we must use a noun clause. But when I encountered the following example in a dictionary, the formulation evaporated:

    "Do you realize your mistake?"

    So based on the above example it's OK to use noun phrases after realize. But what about pronouns? Aren't they replacements for nouns?

    Some of the sentences that my students make are like this:

    Do you realize me?
    I don't realize you.

    I feel these sentences are not right. But I'm not sure whether they are or aren't and can't explain why.

    Can anyone help me with this?
    Realize means to ARRIVE, BEGIN, or COME TO understand. Once you realize something, you'll always understand it. Like the other teacher said, it is similar to "recognize". "Realize" also implies that, previously, you did not understand - now, you do understand. Realization leads to understanding.

    I would explain to your students that it's somewhat similar to "learn" vs. "know".

    They can SOMETIMES be used interchangeably, but they are usually different.

    "After we fought, I realized how stupid I'd been. Now I understand her point of view".


    "I understand now how to do algebra. I didn't realize how simple it really was!"

    If you could give some examples, I could clarify further.

  2. BobK's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Realize

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    They're not. Many of us don't feel "Do you realize your mistake?" is OK either, though it's common. '"Do you recognize your mistake?" would make more sense to me. Grammarians who accept '...realize your mistake' presumably see it as an elided form of '"Do you realize [that you have made a] mistake?"

    b
    On reflection, I've decided I disagree with myself (I'm surprised nobody else has done - Scaredy-cats, the lot of you! )

    It's quite natural to say, for example 'I realized my mistake'. Sometimes, I think it would be more accurate to say 'I recognized my mistake' (I'm not sure when, but I still have the feeling). And I agree with myself (!) that 'I realized my mistake' is an elided form of 'I realized [that I had made a] mistake'.

    b

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    #5

    Re: Realize

    I think there's a difference between "I realized my mistake" and "I recognized my mistake".

    1. He was so caring and warm that I finally married him. It took me a short time to realize my mistake. It was my money he wanted.

    2. Suzie, my daughter, met this guy. A fantastic person, a handsome, compassionate artist. I was very happy for her. He ran with another woman a week after the wedding, taking most of Suzie's money. I should have known better. I should have recognized my own mistake. We, women are so pathetically naive.

    I think you couldn't use "realize" in the second paragraph. I'm not sure about "recognize" in the first. I wouldn't use it there but maybe it's correct?

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    #6

    Re: Realize

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    On reflection, I've decided I disagree with myself (I'm surprised nobody else has done - Scaredy-cats, the lot of you! )

    It's quite natural to say, for example 'I realized my mistake'. Sometimes, I think it would be more accurate to say 'I recognized my mistake' (I'm not sure when, but I still have the feeling). And I agree with myself (!) that 'I realized my mistake' is an elided form of 'I realized [that I had made a] mistake'.

    b
    I don't think it necessarily means "I realised that I had made a mistake." In fact, I'd say it more often means, "I realised what my mistake was."

    "My wife wasn't talking to me for a few days. I had no idea what I'd done wrong until she casually referred to her new hairdo. It was then that I realised my mistake."
    So, you knew you'd made a mistake, but were slow to realise what it as.

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    #7

    Re: Realize

    Thanks everyone for the informative replies. After reading the explanations here and reading some more dictionary examples, I came to the conclusion that "realize" involves expressing some sort of critical judgment (is "value judgment" correct here?), not necessarily a negative one. For example, in the following examples, the first one doesn't seem to be well-formed while the second one is: I realized what he said. I realized what he said was wrong. Am I right on this?

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    #8

    Re: Realize

    Quote Originally Posted by caminostro View Post
    Thanks everyone for the informative replies. After reading the explanations here and reading some more dictionary examples, I came to the conclusion that "realize" involves expressing some sort of critical judgment (is "value judgment" correct here?), not necessarily a negative one. For example, in the following examples, the first one doesn't seem to be well-formed while the second one is: I realized what he said. I realized what he said was wrong. Am I right on this?
    Perhaps. Your first sentence could imply: I realised/recognised the implication(s) of what he said.

    I think that this is one of those situations where each of us has his/her own opinion. Some of us don't recognise any difference. Among those of use who do recognise a difference, there is no exact agreement on what that difference is. Lexicographers do their best with the information they have, but sometimes they just cannot help out.

    In the paragraph above I used 'recognise'. In those particular two sentences, I don't think anybody would have used 'realise', but in the examples you have been discussing I keep changing my mind.

    I suggest that you don't ask your students to do this exercise again.

    ps: Hope you are OK with my BrE spellings.

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    #9

    Re: Realize

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    ...
    I think that this is one of those situations where each of us has his/her own opinion. Some of us don't recognise any difference. Among those of use who do recognise a difference, there is no exact agreement on what that difference is. Lexicographers do their best with the information they have, but sometimes they just cannot help out.

    ...
    Well put.

    b

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    #10

    Re: Realize


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