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Difference between see, look, and watch?

Posted: Thu Jun 06, 2019 2:32 pm
by profchrisp
Hello all,

I've thought about a few different ways to explain this...
But curious to see how other teachers might explain this to students!

"What is the difference between see, look, and watch?"

Re: Difference between see, look, and watch?

Posted: Fri Jun 07, 2019 3:42 am
by Joe
This is how we do look/see/watch it on EnglishClub.

There is also an online look/see/watch quiz (which you can print on paper for your students).

Look, see and watch are verbs that we use to talk about our sense of sight - using our eyes. But they have important differences in meaning.

look (at)
When we look, we try to see. We make a special effort. We concentrate our eyes on something.

Look! It's snowing!
Look at this photo! Isn't it beautiful?
I'm looking but I don't see it.

We use see to mean simply that an image comes into our eyes. It may not be deliberate. As soon as we open our eyes, we see things.

I can see a cloud in the sky.
I suddenly saw a bird fly in front of me.
Didn't you see Ram? He was waving at you.

With the verb watch, we are much more active. Watch is like look, but requires more effort from us. We watch things that are going to move or change in some way. And we watch the movements and changes.

The police decided to watch the suspected murderer rather than arrest him immediately. They hoped he would lead them to the body.
I like watching motor racing on TV.
If you watch that egg for long enough you'll see it hatch.

Re: Difference between see, look, and watch?

Posted: Mon Jun 24, 2019 1:50 pm
by Brandphic
The way you were describe your post was very helpful. Thanks for sharing.

Re: Difference between see, look, and watch?

Posted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 9:48 am
by SallyLuck
A intransitive verb
It shows an act at the moment.
When something attracts our eyes, we go to look at it.

A transitive verb
If we see something, we usually recognise it.
For example, if you look carefully, you could see a person in the painting.

A transitive verb
We want to know the process of one phenomenon, we watch it.
For example, a cat is watching a mouse.