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Hear or Listen

hear or listen1

Many students use listen and hear as they were the same thing. Hear and listen are verbs that we use to talk about our sense of hearing – using our ears. However, these verbs have important differences in meaning.

Listening describes an intentional activity. When you are listening, you are actively trying to hear something. When we listen, we try to hear. We pay attention and try to understand every sound.


  • Listen! Is someone crying?
  • Listen to this song. Can you understand the words?
  • I’m listening but I can’t hear anything.


In contrast, hearing is something that happens without any intentional effort. We use hear to mean simply that sounds come into our ears. You can hear something even when you don’t want to hear it and don’t try to hear it.

  • heard a knock at the door.
  • I suddenly heard a loud noise.
  • Can you speak louder please? I can’t hear you.

 hear or listen2

Hear or Listen (to) for radio, concerts, talks, lectures etc?
In general, we use hear for public performances and listen for non-public performances.

We went to hear the President’s big speech last night

heard Madonna singing “Like A Virgin” at the concert.

Have you ever listen to the radio in your car?

Have you listened to that recording I sent you?



See you soon!!!



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