The act of recognition is when a moderator acknowledges that a player has buzzed on a tossup question. In all nationally adopted rulesets, including those of NAQT and ACF, the act of recognition is a formality and is not required for a player to give an answer.
While it is often thought that recognizing a player requires speaking, the NAQT rules allow moderators to recognize a player by pointing or simply looking in their direction. The time a player has to answer before being timed out begins after the player is recognized.
- Main article: Blurts
A blurt rule (or "recognition rule") limits players from giving an answer before the moderator has audibly recognized them; players who give an answer before that has happened are said to have blurted and may be penalized. This is different from conferring, in which a player gives an answer when they have not buzzed in, as it only applies when there has been a buzz.
In the modern day, this rule is primarily found in non-quizbowl formats like Science Bowl and Ocean Sciences Bowl, as well as some state formats like those of Arkansas. In these formats, players are provided placards which either bear their name or a seat number to allow moderators to identify them.