Notice vs. Realize vs. Recognize – Confusing English Vocabulary Lesson

Michael Confusing Words 5 Comments


I noticed it was time to leave the office so I put on my coat and went downstairs. Suddenly, I realized that I had left my hat in the office, so I went back to get it. I’m glad I did because when I got outside, I noticed a group of people at the corner. They were all looking at someone. At first I didn’t recognize who it was, so I asked someone and they said it was Johnny Depp! He was wearing a winter coat and hat and dark glasses. I can’t imagine how anyone could have recognized him!

(This is a fictional story, written just to practice today’s English vocabulary lesson!)

Today, let’s have a look at three similar verbs; notice, realize, and recognize. Do you know the difference? Have another look at the paragraph above, and then check out today’s lesson.

Notice means to become visually aware of something or someone, by using one’s eyes:

  • I noticed she had gotten her hair cut.
  • When I noticed she was tired, I suggested going back home.
  • I didn’t notice her even though she was sitting in front of me at the theater.

Realize means to understand a situation clearly, by using one’s mind and other senses.

  • I realized the building was on fire when I smelled the smoke.
  • I realized my mistake and apologized to her at once.
  • After several hours of trying to understand the problem, I realized it was too difficult for me to fix.

Recognize means to identify something or someone based on having previous experience with that thing or person:

  • Even though I haven’t seen her in five years, I recognized her right away at the airport.
  • Movie stars wear dark sunglasses so that nobody will recognize them.
  • I didn’t recognize my teacher because I saw her in the supermarket and she wasn’t wearing glasses.

If you know anyone who might be interested in this English language point, why not help them out! Just share this lesson with them. Thanks for studying today!

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