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'I Realized’ or ‘I’ve Realized’: What’s the Difference?

Shaun Connell
February 7, 2024

If you are confused about the difference between 'I realized' or 'I've realized,' you came to the right place!

Here is the short answer in case you are in a rush: 

  • 'I realized' is a phrase used in the present to say that you gained knowledge or accomplished something in the past. 
  • 'I've realized' is a phrase that you use in the present to say that you became aware of something in the recent past. 

You may still be wondering exactly how to use each of these phrases. If so, keep reading. In this guide, I explain the definitions and how to use each in detail.

What is the Difference Between 'I Realized' or 'I've Realized?'

The meanings of 'I realized' and 'I've realized' are very similar, and many writers confuse the two.

  • 'I realized' gives the impression that you became aware of something in the past.
  • 'I've realized,' on the other hand, implies that you have recently realized.  something,

However, to clarify between the two, you can use alternative statements like:

  • I discovered this long ago
  • I discovered something new
  • Recently I completed

Definition of 'I Realized': What Does 'I Realized' Mean?

To better understand the meaning of 'I realized' we are going to look at the definitions of and realized. 

Definition of 'I'

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines 'I' as a noun, abbreviation, and pronoun. However, in this phrase, 'I' is a pronoun that means:

  • The person speaking, communicating, or writing

Definition of 'Realized'

The same resource defines 'realized' as the past tense form of the verb realize, which means:

  • To accomplish or bring into existence
  • To make or cause something to feel or seem real
  • To convert into money
  • To gain, bring, or get by investment, effort, or sale
  • To become fully aware of something or to conceive something vividly as real

Definition of 'I've Realized': What Does 'I've Realized' Mean?

We already looked at the definition of and realized. So, we are going to look at the definition of I've to better understand the difference between these two phrases.

Definition of 'I've'

In the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 'I've' is a contraction defined as:

  • I have

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce 'I Realized' and 'I've Realized'

If you do not frequently give speeches or speak publicly, you may not realize the importance of learning proper pronunciation. However, as a writer, pronunciation can help you remember the correct meaning and spelling of many words and phrases.

So, here is a pronunciation guide you can reference. 

  • Use this phonetic spelling for 'I realized':

Ī rē-uh-lizd

  • Use this phonetic spelling for 'I've realized':

Īv rē-uh-lizd

Although these two are similar, when you are speaking to people, you must use the correct pronunciation so they understand your message.

Writing Tips: When and How to Use 'I Realized' and 'I've Realized'

Even seasoned writers get stumped from time to time about phrases like these. So here are some tips to help you determine when and how to use each.

  • Use 'I realized' when you are talking about something you became aware of in the past.

For example, you could say:

I realized how lucky I was a long time ago, but I often take it for granted. 

  • Use 'I've realized' to say that you recently became aware of something.

As an example, I might say:

After many years of taking my life for granted, I've realized I am lucky. 


I've realized the only way to make my 21st birthday special is to plan a spectacular party!

  • Use an adverb between I and realized to indicate when you came to a realization.

For example, you could say:

I recently realized all that I have been missing. 

  • Use an adverb between I've and realized to indicate a realization that took longer than it should.

So, I might say:

I've finally realized I was not as underprivileged as I thought. 

Sample Sentences Using 'I Realized' and 'I've Realized'

I Realized

  • I realized writing a best-seller would require me to write a book outline long ago, but I never got started.
  • When I realized what I was doing, I immediately stopped.
  • During one of our journeys, I realized how important travel is to the human experience.
  • I realized even when we warmly welcomed new students, they were nervous to start high school.
  • After my divorce, I realized my husband was a better man than I had thought.
  • If I am being honest, I realized it wasn't good long ago, but it just took me a while to admit it to myself.
  • On my 31st birthday, I realized the damage I had been doing to myself and my family and made significant changes in my life.

I've Realized

  • I am happy that I've realized my relationship was toxic and ended it. I just wish I would have come to that realization ten years ago.
  • Over the last month, I've realized significant gains from my investments.
  • I've realized the importance of improving my writing skills if I want to get high-paying jobs.
  • If I've realized one thing recently, it is that you only get out what you put in.
  • When I've realized areas in my life that needed improvements, I've made significant changes.
  • How was I so blind? I've finally realized my self-worth, and I am committing to put myself first in the new year.

Final Advice on the Difference Between 'I Realized' or 'I've Realized'

Finally, you are done reading this post, but before you go, take a look at this review of what you learned about the difference and how to use 'I realized' or 'I've realized':

  • 'I realized' is a term used to indicate that something became apparent to you in the past. 
  • 'I've realized' is a present tense term to indicate that you recently gained something. 
  • Use adverbs between or I've and realized to provide additional information or clarify when the realization took place. 

Phrases like these are truly confusing. So, if you need a reminder of when to use these terms, you can always return to this page for a quick review.

And if you would like to improve your writing skills or career, read some of the other grammar and career guides here before you go.

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Written By:
Shaun Connell
Shaun Connell has spent his entire career either working as a freelance writer or hiring freelance writers for his many successful publications. Shaun has learned the exact tricks of the trade to hire the perfect writer for almost any niche.

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