oversee somebody or something?

popup

Senior Member
Chinese
Hello,

I looked up the dictionary, which says oversee means "to be in charge of a group of workers and check that a piece of work is done satisfactorily." However, I'm not familiar with its usage. Is it idiomatic to say "oversee somebody" and "oversee something"?

For example, which sentence I drafted below is correct?

1) As the business unit manager, I oversaw Tom on a couple of projects.

2) As the business unit manager, I oversaw a couple of projects.
 
  • Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    The problem, such as there is one, Popup, is that to oversee can easily suggest very despotic and severe control, which is why many speakers of BE would avoid it in cases like this.

    To supervise, despite its similar etymology, carries fewer pejorative overtones, to my ear.
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    I don't see anything wrong with sentence (2), but it does sound a little bit odd to me to talk of overseeing a person. :(

    So, while "oversaw Tom's work" would work for me in sentence (1), I'd go along with TT's suggestion (post #2) of using "supervised" there instead. :)
     

    popup

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Oh, I see. Thank you very much for your comments, Thomas and Donny! I didn't know "oversee" has such a sense of meaning until you told me.

    Then besides "supervise", is there any word that has the similar meaning and is suitable to the example sentences above? For example, control?
     

    popup

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Hi Thomas, I are not running away from "supervise", which is a great word to me!

    The reason I asked the question is that in English (speaking and writing), I was told that we need to avoid use the same words repeatedly in a topic. So that's why whenever I learn a new word, I will try to look for some backup or replaceable words. :p
     
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