The following are some learning outcomes a freshman student should achieve. Is the use of the word recognize accurate in these sentences? Or, is there a better way to say this?

  1. Recognize the types of electric heating and Cooling systems.
  2. Recognize the types of welding and electrolysis.
  3. Recognize electrical laboratory devices.


This is actually a comment on the answer.

I mean, especially in the last sentence, that the students should be introduced to the devices and get to know them for the first time. Isn't get familiar with an accurate alternative? Especially for non-abstract nouns like devices?

  • 1
    If your objective is recognition, then recognize is the right word.
    – ScotM
    Commented Jan 26, 2015 at 21:51
  • There is a confusion with the word "recognition" itself. Please see my edited question.
    – AboAmmar
    Commented Jan 26, 2015 at 22:55
  • 1
    Becoming familiar is related to recognition: oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/recognize At one level, you would test their familiarity with electrical laboratory devices by asking them to recognize them. At another level, you would test their familiarity with the devices by asking them to operate them.
    – ScotM
    Commented Jan 26, 2015 at 23:40
  • So, the question again is which is better? and more accurate?
    – AboAmmar
    Commented Jan 26, 2015 at 23:44
  • 2
    It depends on your actual objective: visualizing your students showing you what they know at the end of your course, Recognize is pretty much limited to: This is a ___________. That is a ___________. These are ___________. They don't necessarily need to understand how anything works. Become familiar could substitute for recognize, but it suggests the possibility of being familiar with how it works.
    – ScotM
    Commented Jan 26, 2015 at 23:49

1 Answer 1


"Be able to recognize..." seems to be what is meant by these statements, but it really depends on how this list is introduced. For example, the list is fine as written if it's introduced by something like the following:

At the end of this course, students will be able to:

But there, the "be able to" has been moved out to the intro.

In this context, recognize will probably be understood to mean (roughly) "identify empirically based on comparison with examples seen (or heard/felt/smelled) in previous experience".

As far as a "better way to say this", it depends on what you're trying to say (see ScotM's comment on the original post). If the students are going to be exposed to examples and taught distinguishing features of the various system types/welding & electrolysis/laboratory devices, then recognize is the right word for the job.

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