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What is the difference between realisieren, merken and bemerken?

Als ich im Park spazierenging, realisierte/merkte/bermerkte ich, dass die Sonne unterging.

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3 Answers 3

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Actually, you can use all of them. You use realisieren when you suddenly notice someting although it was there before. merken/bemerken is more like watch something happening. One thing to edit: if you use als, realizing something appears to be a consequence. In this case, you may better use während (during).

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  1. merken: to feel something, to notice something or someone
  2. bemerken: to notice a change of the current situation
  3. realisieren: understanding a fact

So all of them can be used, personally I'd go for bemerkte.

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Actually the meanings of "realisieren" posted in the other two answers are based on the English meaning of it. The actual German meaning of "realisiern" is "to make something come true".

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  • I agree, that this is the more traditional meaning of realisieren, but the anglizism of taking over the meaning meaning of realize has found such widespread use, that it can be considered as valid as well, see DWDS, meaning 2.
    – guidot
    Sep 19, 2022 at 10:30

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