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Look at, watch or see?

look at 1

Look at, watch or see are verbs that we use to talk about our visual sense. But they have important differences in meaning according to intention and non-intention.


When we use ‘see’, we are usually talking about things that we can’t avoid. Example:

“I suddenly saw a bird in front of me.”  – I didn’t intend to see it, it just happened

Look at

When we use the verb ‘look’, we’re talking about seeing something with intention. When we look, we try to see something, making a special effort for it, concentrating our eyes on it. Example:

Look at this photo! Isn´t it beautiful?

Look! It´s raining!”



When we ‘watch’ something, usually that thing it´s going to move or change in some way so we intend to look at it and we are much more active because it requires more effort from us to watch these movements and changes, we observe them carefully. Example:

“I like watching motor racing on TV”

“I watched the bus go through the traffic lights.”

Now, to summarize:

seevisual impression that comes to the eyes;
and you can´t avoid
I saw the carI didn´t had the intention to see the car. It just happened
look atto pay attention, to try to see what is thereI looked at the carI had the intention to look at the car.
watchlook for a time something in movement or changingHe watched the carI looked carefully the car and where it was going. The car was moving.

See you soon!!



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