I believe these are used in the same way, but is there any difference?

I think they both mean "to remember something".

Which is the more polite way to say it and which is more casual?

  • I noticed that the score was wrong.

  • I just realized I have to go home

  • 2
    They don't mean "remember" - to remember means to bring something to your mind that you knew before. Notice or realize are about something new coming to your attention.
    – stangdon
    Jun 1, 2022 at 20:14

1 Answer 1


They are very similar in meaning but there are subtle differences in how they are used. Notice involves direct perception, such as seeing or hearing a thing, without necessarily thinking about it. Realize involves thinking about something and coming to a conclusion, and does not require seeing or hearing it.

The relevant definitions from Merriam-Webster are:

Notice: to become aware of (something or someone)

Realize: to conceive vividly as real : be fully aware of

Notice typically involves a passive seeing or hearing something, for instance you notice a door is open or an alarm is going off. There is not much thought involved. You can also "notice something in passing", i.e. see or hear it but not pay much attention to it.

Realise tends to involve more of a mental process. If you realise something you are commonly thinking about it, rather than directly seeing or hearing it.

One difference would be if you notice the oven was on vs. you realise the oven was on. In the former case, you are probably in the kitchen and actually looking in the oven, while in the latter case you might be far away but are thinking about the oven and come to the conclusion that you did not turn it off.

Having said that, there are cases where either would do, for instance if you look at something and have a thought about it. If you look in a kennel and see the dog is gone, then you might say "I noticed the dog was gone" or "I realised the dog was gone", depending on whether you're focused on seeing the dog wasn't there, or working out that it wasn't there.

  • +1 Your top paragraph hits it bang on
    – gotube
    Jun 2, 2022 at 0:53

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