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I would like to use the verb realize in a sense of " to become real" or "to happen" in active voice. Nonetheless, dictionaries use it in passive voice in this sense.

Although global warming does not happen by itself, I wonder if I could use the word to realize in active voice just as the word to happen.

Global warming is realizing at such a slow pace that we only began to notice it years later it began.

Global warming is happening at such a slow pace that we only began to notice it years later it began.


Another sentence could be :

Unfortunately imminent fiscal crisis is realizing but there are a few things we can do about it.

  • Just to be clear, you want to use this as an intransitive verb, right? You want "the financial crisis is (becoming real)", not "X is making the financial crisis (become real)" – John Feltz Jan 16 '17 at 17:59
  • Is there a reason why you want to do this? It's not a common usage of the word, and will probably sound odd to most people. – Andrew Jan 16 '17 at 17:59
  • @JohnFeltz Yes you are correct. I try to use it as an intransitive verb in both examples. – Mrt Jan 16 '17 at 18:00
  • @Andrew I ask this question to make sure that I do not miss a thing about its use. – Mrt Jan 16 '17 at 18:03
  • "realize" is not an intransitive verb in this sense. "I helped my sister realize her dream of a new kitchen" is OK. But I cannot say "My sister's new kitchen realized". – John Feltz Jan 16 '17 at 18:16
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According to the Oxford English Dictionary, "realize" is a transitive verb, with the primary meaning of "To make real, to give reality to (something merely imagined, planned, etc)" and a lot of similar meanings.

"Happen" is an intransitive verb, so realize and happen cannot be used in the same way.

A possible sentence would be "Human activity is realizing global warming at an ever-hastening pace."

Even though I really do not like the passive, setting this into the passive possibly makes the issue clearer: "Global warming is being realized by human activity", where the original subject "human activity" has become the agent.

The thing about the passive is that you can omit the agent...

"Global warming is being realized". This, although awkward, is the closest approximation to what you were wanting to say "*Global warming is realizing." (I use the asterix * in the way linguists do, to mark a non-attested, or simply wrong, construction.)

  • I see. I think it could sound awkward because I did not find it on Google. To make it sound natural should I use " Global warming has been realized at a slow pace" or should I choose to use the verb " to happen" as in " Global warming has been happening / is happening/happens at a slow pace" ...BTW I thought "to happen" is not enough formal and "to be realized" would sound better but most people use " to happen" for global warming so I think I am wrong to think it sounds unprofessional. – Mrt Jan 17 '17 at 10:22
  • "Happen" is good, but other alternatives are "occur", "take place". I would suggest you avoid the word "realize" in this context, and use something like "Global warming has been taking place at a slow pace", or get completely away from this construction and say something like "Global warming has crept up on us slowly" or even "Global warming has crept up on us insidiously" -- if you don't know the word, look it up -- it's a good one! Notice also "crept up on" rather than "crept upon" -- they are different! – Warren Ham Jan 17 '17 at 11:50

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