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  1. Noticing that they were no longer returning fire, he stopped shooting and peeked around the corner.

  2. Realizing that they were no longer returning fire, he stopped shooting and peeked around the corner.

  3. Noticing that they weren't returning fire anymore, he stopped shooting and peeked around the corner.

  4. Realizing that they weren't returning fire anymore, he stopped shooting and peeked around the corner.

Are "noticing" and "realizing" close to interchangeable in this context? And the same with "no longer" and "anymore"?

I have written the first sentence, is that the one which sounds more natural to you as well?

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    Notice seems a bit casual for this situation. A person under fire would surely be anxiously waiting for the shooting to cease, rather than 'happen to notice' that it had! Commented May 3, 2021 at 16:30

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You notice something when you directly observe it, using your senses (you see it, hear it, etc.)

You realize something when a thought process comes to a conclusion, forming an idea in your mind. This thought process may (or may not) involve sensory input from the past that you hadn't previously processed: you may not have noticed it immediately.

In this particular case, both choices work: you can directly observe a lack of gunfire, and no significant thought process is required; or you can arrive at that conclusion as a result of mental thought. The difference is in how immediately the conclusion is made and how much mental activity goes on in making it.

In this case you also have more options: you could say seeing or hearing. I think these would be better editorial choices than noticing because they are more specific and let the reader really imagine what the character is experiencing.

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