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Cindy
Saw or Recognized One who often watches TV films will easily feel that everything that happens in a film could happen to him one way or the other.With only a little imagination, every man in the street becomes a thief, a spy or a murderer.Jane had been watching a spy film at a friend's house.In the film a young woman was followed and murdered in the end.She felt a little frightened walking to the station.She took the train back to the center of the city.There were a lot of people traveling, so she felt much safer. A man sitting opposite her, reading a newspaper, looked up.She thought nothing of it until she saw him staring at her.Remembering the film and feeling very uncomfortable, she got out of the train and went to the bus stop.But the man got on the same bus.So the man was following her.As long as she had been with other people, she wasn't afraid, but when she got off the bus, the streets were almost empty.She walked as quickly as she could.She could hear footsteps following her but she didn't dare to look back.After what seemed to have been hours, only a few minutes in fact, she reached the front door.She felt for her keys, but wasunable to find them, because she was so frightened.The footsteps stopped behind her.She felt a hand on her shoulder.Instead of feeling hands round her neck, however, she heard a pleasant voice, "I apologize if I frightened you.I'm your new neighbour.I thought I 【recognized】(why can't say"saw"instead of ) you in the train, but wasn't quite sure."
Jan 23, 2010 3:11 PM
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Answers · 4
^^ Cindy, the phrase "I thought I saw you in the train" is not grammatically wrong, but strictly spoken just means: "I thought I saw (your presence) in the train." Whereas "I thought I recognized you in the train" means: "While I was in the train, I saw you and, at that time, thought I recognized you (from something or somewhere)." The two really mean something distinctly different. The thing of it is -- and where it gets all blurry here - if today you say you 'saw' someone yesterday, then obviously you recognized him the other day. The two just happen to coincide there. But consider the following two sentences: "I saw the perp." A victim could say this to the Police, to indicate she saw who did it. Versus: "I recognized the perp." Indicating she recognized him, at that time, from an earlier encounter.
January 23, 2010
Cindy, You can use either one in the context of your sentence. I apologize if I frightened you.I'm your new neighbour. I thought I saw you in the train, but wasn't quite sure." I apologize if I frightened you. I'm your new neighbour.I thought I recognized you in the train, but wasn't quite sure." When I read the above two sentences they had about the same meaning. Others have posted different opinions. This made me think that maybe I was wrong. In order to clarify the point I looked the word "see" up in the Oxford dictionary. From the Oxford: to see MEET BY CHANCE 5 [vn] (not usually used in the progressive tenses) to be near and recognize sb; to meet sb by chance: Guess who I saw at the party last night! This is a special use of the verb "to see".
January 23, 2010
Well, it needs more of an explanation than that. Using the term 'recognised' is to have a previous encounter with the same entity, in this case having a memory of the woman on the train from a previous point in time. As the person in question was at first unsure if the woman was who he thought was his neighbour, Using the word 'saw' is for visual identification of an object in the past tense of something you witness or take note of. You should never use it for someone/something you recognise. Example: "I thought I recognised the car. Then I saw fifty more identical ones." "I saw a movie last night" - to have witnessed an event. "I saw an apple on the bench" - take note of an object "I saw something in the corner of my eye." - to witness or see. "I recognise that thief from the other day." - previous encounter "I saw X-men last night, I have seen that movie twice now" - to witness multiple times. "I recognise that apple on the bench from yesterday." - previous encounter "I saw the cars collide." "I recognise those cars from the crash I saw yesterday" - Previous encounter to an event witnessed. I hope you understand better now. Don't be confused by peoples informal speech/writing styles or colloquialisms.
January 23, 2010
By saying "I thought I recognized you in the train," he's saying that, when they were both in the train, he identified her as someone he had seen before. "Saw" does not carry the element of recognition; it's just that: the Past Tense of 'see'. Like: "Yesterday, I saw you in the train."
January 23, 2010
Cindy
Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), English, French
Learning Language
English, French