come to think of it, in retrospect

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redgiant

Senior Member
Cantonese, Hong Kong
Patient:Really? You wear a costume?

JD: Great costume. I wore a bandana and a half shirt. At away games I wore spurs. Which in retrospect is sort of weird, 'cause we weren't the Cowboys.
Source: Scrubs 802

Background: JD felt a tug on his heartstrings as he started chatting with his terminally ill patient. To get him past the fear of dying, JD decided to stay the entire night with him talking about his life. In this part, JD was sharing his experience of being a mascot for the girls' volleyball team in college.

Hi, Is there any difference between "come to think of it" and "in retrospect"? To me, "Come to think of it" gives more the sense that a thought suddenly hits the speaker during conversation. "In retrospect" seems to suggest that the speaker has formed a new opinion before, and it doesn't suddenly pop into his head during conversation.
 
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  • lucas-sp

    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    Is there any difference between "come to think of it" and "in retrospect"? To me, "Come to think of it" gives more the sense that a thought suddenly hits the speaker during conversation. "In retrospect" seems to suggest that the speaker has formed a new opinion, and it doesn't suddenly pop into his head during conversation.
    Yes, I think you're right. "In retrospect" could be paraphrased with "upon reflection" or "thinking back": "Now that I can look back on that event with hindsight, I see now that..."

    "Come to think of it" has a more neutral, additive meaning: "In addition to what we were discussing, I also just thought of..."
     
    Yes, I think you're right. "In retrospect" could be paraphrased with "upon reflection" or "thinking back": "Now that I can look back on that event with hindsight, I see now that..."

    "Come to think of it" has a more neutral, additive meaning: "In addition to what we were discussing, I also just thought of..."
    I am afraid you were too imaginative. I just could have reworded it as 'I happend to think of it'.
     

    redgiant

    Senior Member
    Cantonese, Hong Kong
    Yes, I think you're right. "In retrospect" could be paraphrased with "upon reflection" or "thinking back": "Now that I can look back on that event with hindsight, I see now that..."

    "Come to think of it" has a more neutral, additive meaning: "In addition to what we were discussing, I also just thought of..."
    I appreciate your help lucas.
    Come to think of it would give out the impression that a suddenly additional opinion just kicked in.
    If JD realized that wearing spurs at away games were weird few days after his stint as a mascot, and now when he's recounting this story with this opinion, it's more appreciate to use "in retrospect".
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    You're talking about two phrases with different meanings, although in some contexts, both could apply.

    Come to think of it = "it has just occurred to me", "I have just realized". It's short for "I've just now come to think of this."

    In retrospect = "in thinking about the past". The "retro-" part of the word means, roughly, "back", while the "-spect" part refers to looking or watching (as in "spectacles" or "spectator"). So if you see something in retrospect, you see it only when you look back.
     

    lucas-sp

    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    Hello lucas, I understood the phrase as 'recall something 'on some occasion'.
    And thus you do not understand the phrase correctly.

    "In retrospect" means "upon further reflection, now that I look back at the past knowing what I know now." It implies that a judgment is being made about the past, not that the past is simply being "recalled" or "remembered."
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    "In retrospect" means "upon further reflection, now that I look back at the past knowing what I know now." It implies that a judgment is being made about the past, not that the past is simply being "recalled" or "remembered."
    To show the difference by example:
    When I was a child my parents gave me a sip of an expensive wine. I remember that it tasted awful. In retrospect, it was actually pretty good wine. My memory which was stored in my brain when I was a child says the wine was bad, but looking back on that time as a person who now appreciates wine, I know that that wine actually tasted like a very good wine.
     
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