Difference between LOOK, WATCH & SEE – Learn English Grammar

Wanna speak real English from your first lesson? Sign up for your free lifetime account at EnglishClass101.com. Hi, everybody! And welcome back to EnglishClass101.com’s Youtube channel. My name is Alisha, and today I’m going to give a short explanation of the difference between “look,” “watch,” and “see.” So let’s get started! Okay, the first verb that I want to talk about is “look.” We use “look” when we simply want to explain that we are moving our eyes to something, just moving the eyes is to “look” at something. There’s no expectation that the item or the object we are looking at is going to change. There’s no expectation that some change is going to happen, we’re simply moving our eyes to something. Finally, when you use “look” and an object follows the verb, you need to follow “look” with “at.” So for example, “look at that.” “Look at me.” “Look at that.” “Look at her.” “Look at him.” All of these use “at” because an object follows the verb “look.” So “look at that thing.” When you use an expression like “look over there,” there’s no object there, so only when there’s an object after the word “look” you need to use “at” to connect the two.

Okay, so remember, “look” is used when you’re simply moving your eyes to something. Okay, let’s talk then about the verb “watch.” So we use “watch” when we want to focus our attention on something. So focusing your attention can be on something happening in front of you, like a performance, it can be movie, TV, but the nuance with “watch” is you are watching something that is changing or moving, something is going to happen, there’s an expectation of change or movement, evolution in some way, we use “watch” in those cases. Focused attention on something that is changing or something that is moving is when we use “watch.” And finally, “see,” the verb “see” is used when we just notice something, we have to notice something, maybe a person has come into the room and we “see” that person, we noticed something but we’re not necessarily focusing. So maybe we “see” it, our eyes catch it, but we don’t focus on that thing, that is when we use “see.” So to recap, we use “look” just to move our eyes to something.

We use “watch” for focused attention on something that is moving or something that is changing. And we use “see” when we just notice something but we don’t necessarily focus on it. Okay, so this is the basic use of these three verbs, but there are a couple of exceptions. So here, I have special cases, especially for performances, so for example, movies, TV shows, concerts, sporting events, and so on, these have slightly different rules.

We will only use “watch” or “see” for these cases, please do not use “look” in these cases, please use “watch” or “see.” If you’re having trouble deciding when to use “watch” or “see,” a good rule, or a good guideline, is if it’s something outside the house, something outside your home, your apartment, use the verb “see.” If you’re at home doing something at home, like watching a movie, for example, use the verb “watch.” So for example, over here, you would see a movie in a movie theater; see a baseball game; watch a DVD at home, or watch the awards show at home.

So these are at home actions, and these are outside the home action. So we use “see” and “watch” in these cases. Okay, but let’s try to choose the correct verb in these example sentences that I’ve prepared. So first one, Tonight I’m going to ______ Game of Thrones. Game of Thrones is a popular TV show, so we should use “watch” because we learned that “watch” is used for things outside, oh, I’m sorry, because we learned that “watch” is used for actions at home, things we do at home, it’s more natural to use “watch.” I’m going to watch Game of Thrones.

Okay, the next sentence, I want to ______ that new movie. New movie probably means going to a movie theater, so we should use the verb “see.” I want to see that new movie, is the correct verb here. ______ up ahead, traffic is terrible. So up ahead means in front of you, in front of the car, in this case, it’s car, it’s traffic related, so up ahead, in this case, the speaker is asking the listener to move his or her eyes in front of them to go up ahead with their eyes, so you can use the verb “look.” Look up ahead, traffic is terrible. So move your eyes up ahead, it’s a command. Okay, next one, Last night I stayed in and ______ a football game.

So stayed in means stayed home, I stayed at home, we use the expression “stayed in” so I stayed in and “watch,” this is an at home action. Past tense, I watched a football game last night. Ok, next one, I can’t wait to ______ my favorite band next week. So again, this is a performance outside the house, my favorite band, so we’ll use “see” I can’t wait to “see” my favorite band next week. Ok, next sentence. When I ______ into the forest, I ______ a deer. Okay, there are two verbs in this sentence, we’re going to use “looked,” so when I moved my eyes into the forest, I moved my direction, my eyes moved in the direction of the forest, and I ______ a deer. So we noticed something, I saw a deer. I saw a deer. A deer entered my eyes, is a weird way to say it but that’s the nuance here. I happened to notice, I wasn’t focusing but I saw this in my eye, I saw a deer. Okay, let’s look at a really difficult one. I ______ up from my book and ______ you.

You were ______ a video on your phone. Okay, so similar here, I ______ up, I “looked” up, I moved my eyes up from my book, so I was reading, I moved my eyes up from my book. And ______ you, so here I noticed, I saw, past tense, I saw you; then here you were ______ a video on your phone. A video on your phone, so maybe we need to use the verb “watch” because the person has focused their attention on their phone on the video. You were watching, past progressive tense, you were watching a video on your phone. So here in this situation we have all three verbs. Finally, let’s use it in a question. When did you last ______ your roommate? So when did you last notice your roommate? We would use the verb “see,” when did you last “see” your roommate, when was the last time you saw your roommate, you noticed your roommate.

So these are some great examples of sentences where it might be difficult to guess should I use “look,” should I use “see,” should I use “watch,” but keep these rules in mind; so remember when you move your eyes to something use “look,” don’t forget to use “at” when an object follows the verb, too. When you want to focus your attention or talk about something that’s changing and moving, use “watch,” like movies and TV shows. When you want to just talk about noticing something but not focusing your attention, use “see.” So this is a basic introduction to the differences between “look,” “see,” and “watch.” I hope it was useful for you, if you like, you can try to leave a comment with one of these verbs in your sentence, or if you have any questions please let us know as well. Thanks very much for watching this video! If you liked this video please be sure to hit the LIKE button and subscribe to our channel if you haven’t already, also check us out for more at EnglishClass101.com.

Thanks very much for watching and I’ll see you again soon. Bye!.

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