Please imagine a couple who have gotten familiar recently are facing some problems in their relationship. Most of the times, they argue over some unimportant matters, but they also can get along and solve all the problems. Once, they are walking outside and the woman asks the man for his opinion about their recent misunderstandings. In such a case in our language there is a very common sentence that the man can say:

This is quite normal. We have just gotten familiar with each other and have a very superficial recognition of each other.

Does this sentence make sense to you? If not, I wonder if you could let me know how a native would convey that message using the critical word "superficial"?

Thank you in advance.


1 Answer 1


It makes sense, but I think "recognition" is not the word you mean to say in this context, as it means something closer to "identify" or "accept":

recognize (v):
1. Identify (someone or something) from having encountered them before; know again.
2. acknowledge the existence, validity, or legality of.

I would instead suggest "understanding", or the verb "understand", or one of the various synonyms:

This is quite normal. We are just getting to know each other, and don't understand each other very deeply yet.

If you must use the word "superficial":

We have only a superficial understanding of each other.

This sounds disconnected, like a philosopher discussing an interesting concept -- but there are people in the world who talk like this about their own lives.

Naturally, someone would recognize their spouse, even from far away. It's not idiomatic to say "I don't recognize" someone familiar to them, except in the context of suggesting that they have changed significantly, as if they have become a different person.

We've been married for years, but lately you've changed. It's like I don't even recognize you anymore.

  • Excellent answer @Andrew. Thank you very much. :)
    – A-friend
    May 22, 2019 at 15:31

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