Look – See – Watch – Differences in Use

Look - See - Watch - Differences in Use In English, we have three words to talk about sight, where most languages just use one! Learn which word to use when in this free lesson.

Hello there!

My name is Ronnie and today we are going to talk about three words in English. There are very confusing. The reason why these words are confusing is because in most languages they like to keep it simple and they like to use one word for all three of  these words that we have in English.

English is not easy. English is difficult.

They like to have three options to confuse even more.

So, I’m here to help you, may be. And help you understand which one to use when, how, if, why.

Let’s look at these words. The first word is “look”, the second word is “see” pronounced like the third letter of the alphabet “c” and then we have “watch”. This thing on the end of your hand which is also called a watch and on the wall – clock.

But today we just going to look at how to use these in a differences between them.

First of all we have to think about how long we’re actually doing the action for.

So, “look” and “see” have the shortest time spend.

If I say: “Look over there!” – It’s very fast.

If I say: “Do you see that?” – It’s a very fast action.

“Watch”, however, takes a longer time.

So, both “look” and “see” are very, very short time. And “watch” is a longer time.

Lets think of things that you actually watch.

You can watch:

  • a movie – How long do movie? An hour, ah hour and a half.
  • T.V.
  • people – If you sit in a mall or in the other main street in a big city, you can watch over crazy, funky, funny people go back. That’s actually called people watching.

So, these things, a movie, T.V. and people the actions take a long time to do it.

If you’re seeing something, you looking at it and then you moving away very quickly.

If you actually look at something, you need another word – you need “at”.

So, I’m actually telling you to do something. “Look” is, what they call in English, imperative. I like to call it a demand. It’s easier to understand.

So, “look” is actually a command, or, if you prefer, a demand. May be someone is doing something funny: “Hey everybody look at me”. We always use look at something or someone. Look at me.

Or you can say:

Look at her.

Look at it.

It we use for things only not people.

But just for things we are going to use it. Animals as well we use it usually.

In some languages, you might know, that the dog is a girl or a boy, but in English is a general rule – we just say “it”.

People get angry but it doesn’t matter.

So, “look at it” is a command.

And “see” is a quick glance.

For example, people were say: Did you see that car!!

Car was travel really quickly and you get one chance to have a  quick glance to look at it.

So, you going to see something, but it’s not going to stay in you view for a long time.

Something like T.V. and a movie – they don’t move. The T.V. set doesn’t move out of you view. So, this things, most of the time, will stay in one place. People will move, but T.V. and movies – don’t.

Things, that you “see” have the capability to move very quickly.

If you want someone’s attention and you want them to feast their eyes on something, you say: “Look at that!” or “Look at me!”

If something is going by very quickly: “Did you see that!”

And if you going to be there in a long time, you going to watch something.

If you go shopping, you’re not watching the clothes. The clothes aren’t coming out and dancing around for you. You’re looking at the clothes and sometimes you see in the clothes. But you are mostly looking at them.

Like every rule in English there are exceptions. This is a hard bit of the English language.

If we use the past, we usually see the movie. We don’t say: “I watched the movie”. We say: “I saw the movie”.

I don’t know why, but usually exceptions are for movies and videos.

We never say: “I saw T.V.” – It is very British.

All right, I hope you enjoy the watching and seeing this video.