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LadyRose
Posted: Sunday, May 6, 2012 1:35:33 AM
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Can you use "remark" meaning something like "see" ? For example in the sentence:

She remarked the boys standing in front of the house.

I learnt you cannot, but I am confused by entries in online dictionaries such as this one, which make me wonder if this might be possible in American English, but not in Britain.

rogermue
Posted: Sunday, May 6, 2012 2:34:24 AM

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An interesting question, Lady Rose.

As my knowledge of English is mainly from reading in English and not from communicating with native speakers I always had in mind 'to remark' has two meanings (simplified: to say and to see).

Now because of your question I checked my electronic dictionary and was astonished to find it has only the first meaning: to make a comment, to utter, to say.

TFD has both meanings.

Only the Collins Dic on my e-book has the following:
- 1. to say
- 2. old or literary: to see, to notice

I would never have found this out if you hadn't brought up this question. I owe you thanks.
IMcRout
Posted: Sunday, May 6, 2012 3:41:41 AM
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What about, 'The teacher re-marked the boys' essays.' Whistle Whistle

Remarkable, innit?
Yakcal
Posted: Sunday, May 6, 2012 4:10:45 AM

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She remarked the boys standing in front of the house.

IM, this sentence as written does not sound right to me. She remarked: to the boys, about the boys, something like that; but not just 'remarked the boys'.

I think it needs a preposition or it sounds incomplete and it sure doesn't make any sense without it. Someone much more skilled than I can tell you all the why fors and such, but that's just my 2 cents worth.Whistle

I hoped this helped.

Re-marked essays, roger? You just couldn't re-sist, could ya?
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Sunday, May 6, 2012 4:32:09 AM

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She remarked the boys standing in front of the house. - She noticed the boys standing in front of the house.

She remarked about the boys standing in front of the house. - She mentioned the boys standing in front of the house.

re·mark (r-märk)
v. re·marked, re·mark·ing, re·marks
v.tr.
1. To express briefly and casually as a comment.
2. To take notice of; observe. See Synonyms at see1.
v.intr.
To make a comment or observation: remarked on her academic scholarship.
n.
1. The act of noticing or observing: a place worthy of remark.
2. A casual or brief expression of opinion; a comment. See Synonyms at comment.

TFD

To me, it's not outdated - maybe a little more formal than 'spot' or 'notice', but no more formal than 'observe'.

"Did you notice that 'observe' can also be used in both meanings", he observed.
rogermue
Posted: Sunday, May 6, 2012 4:52:42 AM

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Good, Dragon, that you don't back up the note of CollinsDic (dated). So my first view 'to remark can mean to say and to see' is not so wrong.
And good, that you mention that 'to observe' has the same two uses. I had forgotten it or it was not consciously present in my mind.
LadyRose
Posted: Sunday, May 6, 2012 9:14:00 AM
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Great, thanks a lot !!!!!Dancing
Marissa La Faye Isolde
Posted: Sunday, May 6, 2012 9:54:17 AM
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I agree with Yakal that how the sentence is written it sounds like a phrase, and "remarked" used as "said" sounds wrong.

"She remarked the boys standing in front of the house."

I think maybe a comma would help, but this is not a complete sentence...So it needs something else like "are" after boys.

She remarked, the boys are standing in front of the house.
Hope1
Posted: Sunday, May 6, 2012 9:55:17 AM
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Man, you learn something new here everyday! I had no idea 'to remark' was a synonym for 'to see'.
When I read it to my husband, he thought it was in quotes with part of the verb missing.

We seem to have lost that second meaning for 'remark' over here. We use it only meaning 'to comment'.
We also use 'remarkable' to mean extraordinary, worthy of being 'remarked upon or mentioned', rather than being 'worthy of notice'.

But we might use "observe' both ways.

Maybe someone else from the west will add their usages here too.

Edit:
Marissa and I were posting at the same time.
(Also, it was IMc who could not resist.)
Briton
Posted: Sunday, May 6, 2012 11:22:02 AM
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If 'to remark' is to be used as 'notice/observe', as in the sentence "She remarked the boys standing in front of the house", it should be written as quoted.

It is another way of saying, "She noticed the boys standing in front of the house".

No need for a comma or extra words.

It sounds wrong to our modern ears because it is used rarely in everyday speech these days. It is more likely to be found in books.
FounDit
Posted: Sunday, May 6, 2012 1:27:15 PM

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I have read the posts several times, and sense that you all are saying that the words "remarked' and "observed" can be substituted for the act of seeing or observing. Do I have that correct? If so, this is completely new to me as I have never heard or read of these words used in this manner.

This seems completely wrong to me. This usage of remark or to make an observation is not the act of seeing or observing in the sense of sight or vision, but rather commenting on something that was seen or observed. In all cases, it is the verbalization, not the act of seeing that is meant by remark or observe. Therefore:

"She remarked the boys standing in front of the house." would be incorrect if "remarked" is used in place of the act of observing. Here, she is verbally commenting on the boys standing in front of the house. It should read, "She remarked that the boys are standing in front of the house." Or, "She remarked on the fact of the boys standing in front of the house."

In like manner, "He observed (or He made the observation) that the best route to travel was to the West." doesn't mean he saw the route or observed the route, but rather that he commented or stated that the best route was to the West.

Correct me if I am wrong.
Hope1
Posted: Sunday, May 6, 2012 4:22:25 PM
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From TFD -

Remark

v.tr.
1. To express briefly and casually as a comment.
2. To take notice of; observe. See Synonyms at see1.

FoundIt - See number two above. When you click on 'see1' this is what you get.


see 1  (s)
v. saw (sô), seen (sn), see·ing, sees
v.tr.
1. To perceive with the eye.
FounDit
Posted: Sunday, May 6, 2012 6:01:16 PM

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Not talking puh!
Well, Ah don't like it! Ain't gonna use it! And won't ever tell a body thet it's raight! So there!
Marissa La Faye Isolde
Posted: Sunday, May 6, 2012 6:56:18 PM
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To foundit:

In my sentence: "She remarked, the boys are standing in front of the house." I didn't mean that "remark" means "see," but a "comment." I used the "comma" to take the place of "that", which you used in your sentence. I think your sentence using "that" is clearer. And perhaps using a "comma" in place of "that" is not grammatically correct. My example seemed clear to me, but obviously it wasn't.
Romany
Posted: Sunday, May 6, 2012 9:18:47 PM
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Foundit -
Try substituting simply 'saw'. "She saw the boys standing..etc."

The use of remark in this way HAS become unusual in spoken English, but it's a shame because, like many 'synonyms' it has its own meaning. It doesn't really refer to a full stare or sustained seeing, but a glancing, kind of peripheral seeing. Just as 'remark' as a speech description doesn't refer to a flat statement as much as a kind of footnote. (Which is why the phrase 'a throw away remark' seems redundant to me).

FounDit
Posted: Sunday, May 6, 2012 9:47:03 PM

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Marissa,

I understood what you were attempting to do. That is why I went back to the original sentence in the OP. My only thought was that if you use a comma, you should enclose the remainder of the sentence with quotation marks (or would that be remarks?...Anxious ).

Romany,

I agree, and understand your point. I was just feigning offense as a jest. I have, however, never seen the word "remarked" used in this way, so it was a new fact to me. The explanation that it meant seeing or noticing was astounding. I've always seen it used to mean speech or to point out something extraordinary or that stands out from its surroundings.

I learn something every time I visit here. Applause
flaws
Posted: Sunday, May 6, 2012 10:40:40 PM
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FounDit wrote:
"He observed (or He made the observation) that the best route to travel was to the West." doesn't mean he saw the route or observed the route, but rather that he commented or stated that the best route was to the West.


Well put!

I think it's strange to shoehorn a word into a meaning that it wouldn't be understood in; if nobody listening or reading would understand "She remarked the boys standing in front of the house" as "She saw the boys..." then it means only what they do understand.

Still, I think FounDit, and also IMcRout for making the 'remarkable' joke, point out aptly that remark 'to see' is to comment on what has been seen, and that remark can't be taken to mean 'to see' any more than to see is to say. Remark requires seeing, but it is still only saying. Read every argument for a change - "She remarked that the boys...", "She remarked, the boys..." etc. and suddenly 'remarked' becomes almost definitively 'said', and no longer either said or saw interchangably.

Given how remarkable is used, though, provides some argument that remark could definately once have meant 'to see'?
NancyLee
Posted: Monday, May 7, 2012 3:07:30 AM
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Hi!

This is an interesting discussion. Nobody brought up the fact that the word "mark" also means "to observe, notice".

"When the class went out for recess, I marked carefully where Bill and Joe went to play. They always seem to be in the middle of any muddle on the playground."

I have used "mark" to mean observe carefully or to look closely. The word "mark' seems to be in the discussed category. We seem to have given up "remark" as an intensifier for "mark" and use other words, such as "carefully" or "closely" or "intensely" etc., to intensify.

I think I understood the meaning of the sentence "She remarked the boys standing in front of the house." only because I have read a lot of books by long dead authors.

What do you think? Has anyone heard "marked" used as above? Am I again really showing my age...???... because this doesn't sound wrong to me. Oh well...


Hope1
Posted: Monday, May 7, 2012 10:32:32 AM
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Nancy - sure - we might say 'to mark the spot' meaning to note carefully so as to remember. Dogs and wolves have a unique way of 'marking their spot'. Lol

But we have stopped using 'remarked' to mean 'see'. I am with FoundIt on this. Applause
NancyLee
Posted: Monday, May 7, 2012 11:04:48 AM
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Hi Hope! I definitely agree. I have never heard anyone use "remarked" for seeing or observing. I have only read it. I have heard "marked" though. Of course I grew up with my grandmother living with us and she was born in 1877. There was a multiple choice Reader's Digest test I took when I was about sixteen about word usage. What words you used were supposed to indicate your age. Turned out that my vocabulary use indicated I was about forty-five, not sixteen...

Cute point about dogs and wolves!

It is amazing how many meanings some words have!

LOL Both ways! NancyLee
ellana
Posted: Monday, May 7, 2012 3:27:44 PM
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My take on this is that 'remark' comes from the French 'remarquer' - to notice

Ex: Je l'ai remarque (accent missing on the 'e') dans la foule... I noticed him (spotted him) in the crowd...
Elle aime se faire remarquer... She likes to be noticed...
Il me fait remarquer que... He has pointed out, brought to my attention...
NancyLee
Posted: Monday, May 7, 2012 5:54:04 PM
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ellana wrote:
My take on this is that 'remark' comes from the French 'remarquer' - to notice

Ex: Je l'ai remarque (accent missing on the 'e') dans la foule... I noticed him (spotted him) in the crowd...
Elle aime se faire remarquer... She likes to be noticed...
Il me fait remarquer que... He has pointed out, brought to my attention...



Hi Ellana!

Yes! TFD in English notes exactly that. Thank you for your examples!


[Alteration (influenced by mark) of French remarquer : Old French re-, re- + Old French marquer, to mark (ultimately from merc, sign, from Old Norse merki, mark; see merg- in Indo-European roots).]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

[from Old French remarquer to observe, from re- + marquer to note, mark1]

Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003\

remark - From an intensified French word marquer, "observe, notice," i.e. "making a verbal observation."

See also related terms for notice.
Farlex Trivia Dictionary. © 2011 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.
Romany
Posted: Tuesday, May 8, 2012 12:20:22 AM
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Yes, thanks,ellana, for backing up my point that remark is more 'noticed' or 'spotted' - not exactly 'saw'. As I said, it's a pity it's slowly slipped out of spoken English because it DID have a particular niche when it was adopted into English as meaning slightly even less than those two, though. (If that makes any sense to anyone except for in my head!).

A Thought: -I expect that certain forms are more familiar in BE than in AE (or, Hope, CE)not just because of England's geographical proximity to other European countries, but because it is spoken in countries in Europe where a lot of these adapted words originated and so doesn't sound so outlandish? Also(until comparatively recently, when Asian languages began to be offered)as BE speakers HAD to learn a foreign language at school -it was usually French or German?

It also just occurred to me that this too, is an explanation for why we seem rather stubborn and fuddy-duddy by hanging on to the spelling forms we use and not streamlining them as in AE? This is probably because most of the irregular and strange forms occur in the adapted words... so they tend to make more sense to those of us who either are forced to slog through Latin, Greek, French or German at school, and those of us whose native language is one of the Romance or Germanic languages anyway? For example our spelling of the little pieces of paper we use to represent money isn't strange to us because in our European environment we are familiar with French or other words with 'ue' endings. So 'cheque' doesn't seem unecessarily pedantic and besides, it helps to differentiate between money and that most Celtic of all fashion stylings - the check!

(Good grief: - where did all the above waffle come from? Sorry. It's a rainy day - rainy days always have that affect on me... Hey, when I finally get to England I'm going to become a genius! Or a buffoon. All that rain. )
rogermue
Posted: Tuesday, May 8, 2012 2:10:12 AM

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to remark

I have checked the use of this verb in my LongmanDic (LongmanDCE, 2007, about 200,000 headwords) and the CD-ROM (80,000 additional examples). I think this LongmanDic represents modern usage (dictionary was established on the basis of a language database).

They have only the use of 'to remark' in the meaning of 'to make a short comment'. So I think that the use of 'to remark' in the sense of 'to catch sight of something' is older use, sometimes found in literature, but not the contemporary typical use of 'to remark'.
IMcRout
Posted: Tuesday, May 8, 2012 3:38:59 AM
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Although it is beginning to be a sunny day over here, Romany, I enjoyed your ramblings - or waffle, as you called it.

Together with NancyLee's and Ellana's contributions they made me realize that the same phenomenon can be observed in German.

The verb 'bemerken' corresponds very closely to 'remark' in that it can both mean 'notice, observe' and '(make a) comment, say'.

Looking further I found that both words can ultimately be traced back to Old Norse and that - surprisingly - the French word 'marquer' has Germanic origins.

The verb 'mark' has two close equivalents in German:
'markieren' in the sense of 'make / leave a mark, sign' etc. and
'merken', with its meanings 'realize, notice' and - used reflexively - 'sich merken', meaning 'remember, learn'.
I think the saying 'Mark my words!' means both 'Listen carefully and heed my words' and 'remember / don't forget'.

'Remarkable' means 'bemerkenswert', literally 'worth noticing'. And then there is 'merkwürdig', an adjective that literally and originally meant 'worth remembering, noteworthy' but has long since developed the meaning 'strange, odd, curious'.

Howzat for a waffle, Romany?
rogermue
Posted: Tuesday, May 8, 2012 4:30:15 AM

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I wouldn't exclude the possibility that the German use of 'bemerken' (to remark) in two directions (utterance/comment and see/notice/be surprised to find) may have had influence on English 'to remark'.

- "Du hast ein hübsches Kleid an", bemerkte er. (He are wearing a nice dress, he remarked/said.)
- Ich bemerkte, daß ich ein Loch im Schuh hatte. (I saw/found with surprise/noticed I had a hole in my shoe.)

These two uses of 'bemerken' are normal in German.
As I have found out in most English dictionaries 'to remark' is more used in the sense of utterance. But you find the second use (seeing, finding with surprise) also.
Longman has only the first use. My big Oxford Dic (ODE) (that I seldom use because it's so heavy) has both uses! And without any remark such as in literature or not so common. Funny how different dictionaries can be.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Tuesday, May 8, 2012 12:42:16 PM

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Despite all the "I can't believe it", "It doesn't exist" remarks, and flaws's odd comment about "shoehorning a word into a meaning" - the verb 'to remark' has had the meaning of "to notice" since at least the 1600's (meaning the same as the French 'Remarquer' and the German "bemerken").

'To mark' means 'take notice of' - you mark my words, you will get nowhere by trying to pretend that definitions don't exist.

To remark means to see, or to make a comment about what you see.
To observe means to watch, or to make a comment about what you have been watching.
Remarkable means worthy of being re-marked (looked at again).
Remarkably means able to be easily seen.

Maybe there are some areas of the world where this has been forgotten, but it came as a shock to me that there might be people (among the native English speakers) who did not know this - I could understand someone learning English, but not an English speaker.

'An observer' in artillery terms, is usually called the 'spotter' - before the days of automated guidance systems, he would observe the first shot, then tell the gunner "a bit left, a bit higher". "Observe and Report" being the two functions. (from Latin ob-servare "to watch")
RuthP
Posted: Tuesday, May 8, 2012 2:00:31 PM

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Nothing really new to say (but I'll do it anyway).

I agree this usage is currently unusual. It is not something apt to be used in daily conversation. In context, however, my bet is all the native English speakers on this forum would take the meaning of the word, even though it might be necessary to read the paragraph twice. And, I do not believe it has fallen out of formal use. (Drag0n, I agree with your post.)

Remark means something more than just see. (It's more than catch sight of or see; Romany is right on that one.) If I remark something, I take note of it or I consciously notice it.

I've always thought that it was from the meaning of remark as taking notice of that we got the meaning of remark as to say something about. If something is worthy of being remarked, then it is worth remarking upon. It makes more sense to me to go from noticing something to saying something than going from saying to noticing.
rogermue
Posted: Tuesday, May 8, 2012 3:13:32 PM

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A very good remark, RuthP. I totally agree with you!
Even the Oxf Dic of English Etymology doesn't bring this semantic development so clearly as you have said it.
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