Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

The operator of a machine solely needs to be in control of the machine controls. Thus, they need to be physically in a location near the control panel, and in order to make sure nobody else pushes the button that would fry said operator, they need "visuals" of the area.

Do they observe the control panel or do they oversee it?

I'm afraid that to oversee is (visually) controlling an act carried out by another party — true?

share|improve this question
add comment

1 Answer

up vote 4 down vote accepted

To observe something is to see it with your eyes. To oversee something or someone is to be responsible for it/him/her (usually, sommeone oversees something by visually examining it from time to time, so that's where the word comes from).

Thus, the operator is both observing the panel because he is watching it and overseeing the machine because he is taking responsibility for its well-functioning.

share|improve this answer
2  
A synonym of oversee is supervise. –  kiamlaluno Feb 20 '11 at 21:27
add comment

protected by RegDwigнt Jan 8 '13 at 9:34

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality answers, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site.

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?