What's a better word for "evoke" in the phrase "evoke a realization"?

The context is a technical article about a catch-all module, and the wording is:

"A glance at the feature set <evokes> the unsettling realization that this module was used as a singular dumping ground for all kinds of varying features"

Evoke doesn't capture the meaning, something more like inspires, conjures, can't quite get it. And what process do people use to determine these things?

  • 2
    I would seriously consider prompt as a verb in that situation.
    – Sven Yargs
    Aug 28, 2015 at 3:37
  • And then it hit me like a ton of bricks...
    – Jim
    Aug 28, 2015 at 3:56
  • It's a pretty common phrase. Could you say what you don't like about it, and provide a context? Aug 29, 2015 at 23:37
  • Sven Yargs has hit the nail on the head.
    – barbecue
    Aug 30, 2015 at 1:18
  • @SvenYargs Add this as a response and I will accept it as correct Oct 29, 2015 at 13:31

5 Answers 5


One option is the verb prompt. Here is the relevant entry in Merriam-Webster's Eleventh Collegiate Dictionary (2003):

prompt vt 1 : to move to action : INCITE 2 : to assist (one acting or reciting) by suggesting or saying the next words of something forgotten or imperfectly learned: CUE 3 : to serve as the inciting cause of {evidence prompting an investigation}

The third definition here has the meaning you're looking for, I think.


A glance at the feature set leads to the unsettling realization that this module was used as a singular dumping ground for all kinds of varying features

But really the whole sentence still feels complicatedly written. How about:

Looking at the feature set reveals that this module was purposefully used as a dumping ground for disparate features.


Better is a relative concern. I'm guessing you don't like evoke because it sounds a bit snooty, but I'm only guessing.

Cause a realization.

The meaning isn't identical but it won't make you sound like you swallowed a dictionary.

You may wish to simply reword as an idiom:

  • That made me realize
  • That caused me to realize
  • I came to realize
  • I came to the realization that
  • That made me come to the realization that

The question's been bumped, so I'm going to suggest "bring":

Cause (someone or something) to be in a particular state or condition (-- Oxford Dictionaries Online)

"A glance at the feature set brings the unsettling realization..."

I do like "prompts", but for me it's closer to "encourages" - i.e the "unsettling realization" may not happen. My feeling is that the OP wants the reaction to seem inevitable, and immediate.


I would go with the somewhat flowery term "dawned"

dawn - Become evident to the mind; be perceived or understood

For example: I stayed up all night wondering where the sun had gone, and then it dawned on me.

  • But you have replaced more than just the word the OP wanted replaced. Aug 29, 2015 at 23:33

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