1

If I take a look at the usage of the verb "notice":

  1. As noticed by some customers, the store does not stock the ...
  2. Some customers noticed that the store does not stock the...

I will find that I cannot write the following using the verb "spot":

  1. As spotted by some customers, the store does not stock the ...
  2. Some customers spotted that the store does not stock the...

It seems that the verb "spot" cannot be followed by a that-clause.

But then, I saw this usage of the verb "spot" in this article:

As spotted by 9to5Mac, Apple will trim its iPhone return window from 30 days to 14 as of tomorrow. Carriers had previously offered 14 days, so now at least it's consistent across the board. Still, for Apple Store customers, that's less than half the time to decide if parallax effect is right for you.

Could the sentence in the article be wrong?

  • Why the verb "spot" can't be followed by a that-clause? – Victor Castillo Torres Oct 18 '14 at 23:21
  • Do you have a source for your examples to support your conclusion "It seems that the verb "spot" cannot be followed by a that-clause."? – user3169 Oct 19 '14 at 0:38
  • @user3169 So, I could write: "I spotted that she was smiling"? – meatie Oct 19 '14 at 3:39
  • I asked because I haven't seen such as usage ("spot" followed by a "that" clause) that makes sense. – user3169 Oct 19 '14 at 4:06
1

Could the sentence in the article be wrong?

Well, it could be, but it is not.

{EDIT: In addition, your #3 and #4 are grammatical. But the problem with them is with word choice, namely that spot and notice do not always mean the same thing.

And this is the same reason that there} is no hobby called "train-noticing."

Spot can be a synonym of espy (catch sight of), and most similar to spy (no 9: to catch sight of suddenly). It can also mean to see under difficult circumstances, to see something first.

Note the phrasal verb that is interchangeable with spot is catch sight of. Please note that in your sentences, catch sight of works in the introductory clause but not in the that-clause:

  1. As caught sight of by some customers, the store does not stock the ...
  2. *Some customers caught sight of that the store does not stock the...

And caught sight of does substitute into the article:

  1. As caught sight of by 9to5Mac, Apple will trim its iPhone return window from 30 days to 14 as of tomorrow.

It might not sound the best, but Number7 is grammatical and maintains the meaning of the original sentence in the article.

Please also note that spot can be followed by a that-clause:

9to5Mac spotted that Apple will trim its iPhone return window from 30 days to 14 as of tomorrow.

{Edit to add: In your Number 4, spotted is okay, but it would not be my number one word choice. This is not because spot cannot be followed by a that-clause, but because spot often means to see quickly, and it doesn't make that much sense in Number 4.

Whereas:

(7b) Not only did I spot the deer darting through the woods, I spotted that it was a female mule deer.

is fine, to me at least.}


The following is just more information.

  1. Can you spot the rabbit among the lettuce in the garden?
  2. Can you catch sight of the rabbit among the lettuce in the garden?
  3. ? Can you notice the rabbit among the lettuce in the garden?

Is Sentence 10 is grammatical? If it is, it does not have the same meaning, because notice does not mean the same as catch sight of and spot, (as used in the sentence).

Can you use spot with a "that" clause. Yes.

11. I spotted that the number of the train 1/2 mile away through the mist was 23.
12. *I caught sight of that the number of the train 1/2 mile away through the mist.
13. I noticed that the number of the train 1/2 mile away through the mist was 23.

Here, Number 12 is not grammatical. Numbers 11 and 13 are grammatical. But the meaning of 11 and 13 are not identical.

  • I think #12 is grammatical: "I couldn't see the number of the train even when it was just 10 feet away." "Really?? I caught sight of the number of the train [when it was] 1/2 mile away through the mist [no less]." – Jim Oct 19 '14 at 5:20
  • @Jim. I had to edit #12 to add the word that, which I had omitted. – user6951 Oct 19 '14 at 5:25

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.