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Look, See, Watch

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Seelook and watch are all verbs that relate to our eyes, but what's the difference between them? Let's take a look at these words in context:

Look at that bird!

Did you see that bird?

This morning, I watched a bird eating the food I left in my garden.


Look at something for a reason. We make a special effort to look at it, we pay attention. We look at something for a short time. Look at is used when we tell someone to do something, "Look at that".

Look at that bird! - We are telling someone what to do, the person must make an effort to look. The bird will probably fly away soon so we are only looking for a short time before it flies away.


See something that we were no looking for; see something that comes into our vision. We see something for a short time, usually because it is moving quickly.

Did you see that bird? - We were not looking for the bird, it suddenly passed by us, now it is gone. It came into our vision quickly then went. We were not trying to find it.


Watch something carefully for a long time, usually you watch something that is moving.

This morning, I watched a bird eating the food I left in my garden. - I watched the bird for a long time as it moved around my garden eating. I was watching it carefully.

Now take a look at these sentences and decide which is the correct verb:

  • 1 - Take a ___ at this picture of Tom.

  • 2 - What just flew past us? Did you ___ it?

  • 3 - Have you lost something? What are you ___ for?

  • 4 - I think I just ___ Linda drive by.

  • 5 - We all ___ he looked worried.

  • 6 - I like to sit outside the coffee shop and ___ the people walking past.

  • 7 - Let's ___ that DVD you bought.

  • 8 - I thought I ___ a ghost in my room, but it was just the curtain moving!

  • 9 - What did you ___ on TV last night?

  • 10 - ___ at Luke's new watch, it's cool.