3 – See, Look, Watch – One Point English Lesson

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Let’s start off today’s free one-point English lesson with a quiz. Fill in the blanks with either “look (at)” “see” or “watch.”

Yesterday I was ________ TV and I ________ a program about space. Since the beginning of time, humans have been ________ at the blinking lights night sky and wondering about them. I do too. I love to ________ into space at night. Going to Jones Beach, ________  a full moon rise, and ________  all of those stars is breathtaking. Sometimes, when you are stargazing, you might even ________ a shooting star. There are a lot of nice places here on Long Island where you can escape the lights of the city and ________ so many stars without ________ into a telescope. Maybe someday I can ________ you here, ________ at the sky!

Here is the answer

See, look, and watch are all very similar verbs in that they all describe what we do with our eyes. However, we use them differently.

When you see something, it comes into your eyes with or without your effort. Seeing is the natural action of the eyes. Here are some examples:

  • I just saw a shooting star (it came into my view)
  • The train is crowded, I don’t see you.

We also use see to when we talk about a performance, sporting event, etc:

  • Let’s go see a movie
  • Have you seen the Long Island Philharmonic?
  • Did you ever see the Yankees play Boston?

When you look (or look at), you are using your effort, or concentrating. You can see something without effort, but when you look, you are trying to.  Note that when we have a direct object, we say “look at.” Here are some examples:

  • I looked into the room, but I didn’t see anybody.
  • She looked at me with a smile and said, “thanks.”
  • Look at that bird!” “Where? I don’t see anything”

Watch is also used when you use your effort, or are concentrating. Generally however, we watch things that are moving, or going on, or progressing:

  • I’ve been watching that tree bend in the wind. I hope it doesn’t snap.
  • Watch the dog, I think she is going to try to escape from the yard.

These two examples show situations that progress over time, so we watch them. When things don’t progress over time, we look at them. For example:

  • I watch TV every morning. (The image progresses over time)
  • I like to look at old photographs. (The image doesn’t progress over time)

We also can use watch or see when we talk about TV shows and films

  • I’ve seen Casablanca over ten times
  • Did you watch / Did you see Family Guy last night? (Both are OK)

So, to summarize, we generally:

Use SEE when  something comes into our eyes, with or without our effort:
   – I saw you in the mall yesterday

Use LOOK (AT) when you are using your effort, and generally for something that is not moving or progressing:
  – I looked at the painting for five minutes, but could not understand it

Use WATCH when you are using your effort, and something is moving or progressing
  – I like to go to the beach and watch the sunset.

Here is one more qizz for practice. Good luck!

Long Island has so many places to shop. Everywhere you ________, you can ________ a store or a mall. I like to shop in the Roosevelt Field Mall. No matter what you are ________ for, you can find it there. I have never ________ so many things I want to buy in one place before. The mall is also a good place to ________ the diversity of culture that makes Long Island a great place. Have a seat in the food court and ________ people from all over the world go by. You can ________ the latest releases at the theater, or go to the video store and pick up a classic to ________ at home.  If you go into the candy store and ________ all of the treats, well, you’ll just have to ________ for yourself. That’s all for today’s English lesson. ________ you soon!

Here is the answer

That’s it for today’s free one-point English lesson! Remember to cover all four key skills. When you hear it, say it. When you read it write it. When you do all four, it’s yours! See you next time.

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