see/look/watch – The differences!

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A common area of confusion for students of all levels is the differences between the verbs see, look and watch. Below is a quick explanation that will help you to easily understand how and when to use these words from now on:

Boy looking through binoculars

Is he watching or looking?

see – We use ‘see’ to talk about anything that is in front of our eyes. As soon as we open our eyes, we can see things.

look – We use the verb ‘look’ when we are trying to see something.

watch – We use the verb ‘watch’ when we are looking at something for a longer period of time, for example: a movie or a sporting event.

A good example that I use in my lessons is if I was going visit to the zoo. When I arrive in the zoo, the first thing that I want to see is the lions! When I arrive at the lions area, I stop for a moment to look at them in more detail. I then notice a sign saying that there will be special lion feeding show in 10 minutes, so I decide to stay to watch the show.

As always, please write your comments or questions below, I’m always happy to help!

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