Difference between LOOK, WATCH & SEE


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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

betweenlook,” “watch,” andsee.”

So let's get started!

Okay, the first verb that I want to talk about islook.”

We uselookwhen we simply want to explain that we are moving our eyes to something,

just moving the eyes is tolookat 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 uselookand an object follows the verb, you need to followlook


So for example, “look at that.”

Look at me.”

Look at that.”

Look at her.”

Look at him.”

All of these useatbecause an object follows the verblook.”

Solook at that thing.”

When you use an expression likelook over there,” there's no object there, so only

when there's an object after the wordlookyou need to useatto connect the two.

Okay, so remember, “lookis used when you're simply moving your eyes to something.

Okay, let's talk then about the verbwatch.”

So we usewatchwhen 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 withwatchis 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 usewatchin those cases.

Focused attention on something that is changing or something that is moving is when we use


And finally, “see,” the verbseeis used when we just notice something, we

have to notice something, maybe a person has come into the room and weseethat person,

we noticed something but we're not necessarily focusing.

So maybe weseeit, our eyes catch it, but we don't focus on that thing, that is

when we usesee.”

So to recap, we uselookjust to move our eyes to something.

We usewatchfor focused attention on something that is moving or something that

is changing.

And we useseewhen 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 usewatchor "see" for these cases, please do not uselook

in these cases, please usewatchor "see.”

If you're having trouble deciding when to usewatchorsee,” 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


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" andwatchin these cases.

Okay, but let's try to choose the correct verb in these example sentences that I've


So first one, Tonight I'm going to ______ Game of Thrones.

Game of Thrones is a popular TV show, so we should usewatchbecause we learned

thatwatchis used for things outside, oh, I'm sorry, because we learned thatwatch

is used for actions at home, things we do at home, it's more natural to usewatch.”

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 verbsee.”

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 verblook.”

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


So stayed in means stayed home, I stayed at home, we use the expressionstayed in

so I stayed in andwatch,” 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


So again, this is a performance outside the house, my favorite band, so we'll usesee

I can't wait toseemy 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 uselooked,” 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, Ilookedup, 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 verbwatchbecause 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 verbsee,” when did you lastseeyour 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 uselook,” should I usesee,” should I usewatch,” but keep these rules

in mind; so remember when you move your eyes to something uselook,” don't forget

to useatwhen an object follows the verb, too.

When you want to focus your attention or talk about something that's changing and moving,

usewatch,” like movies and TV shows.

When you want to just talk about noticing something but not focusing your attention,


So this is a basic introduction to the differences betweenlook,” “see,” andwatch.”

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.

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