Maximum time I face this problem by saying listening music. Is there any traditional cause behind this?

Can we use listen music or listening music?

Seems there is only a slight difference, but why is listen to music the right way to say it?

  • 1
    +1 for giving space to listening music and listening to music. Furthermore, listening to MJ and listening MJ as related questions.
    – Maulik V
    Jan 9 '14 at 5:56
  • what about .. I help you to listen music or I help you to listen to music
    – user19167
    Apr 25 '15 at 11:15
  • You don't say "to listen music" because it isn't registered in dictionaries.
    – rogermue
    Jan 2 '16 at 2:31

Listen is an intransitive verb: it does not take a direct object. It means “be attentive to sounds”. Consequently, these are complete sentences.

I listen.
Listen! ... (This is a command, with the subject you understood.)

If you want to indicate that you are attentive to a particular kind of sound you must express this with a prepositional phrase.

I listen to music. ... Music is playing and I attend to it.
Listen for the bell. ... The bell will ring; be attentive, so you notice when that happens.

  • I was listening MJ where to is dropped.
    – Maulik V
    Jan 9 '14 at 5:58
  • @MaulikV: what does your sentence mean? It doesn't sound right to me. Jan 9 '14 at 10:50
  • @SteveMelnikoff This means I was listening Michael Jackson (his tacks). I think 'to' is not needed there (I was listening to Michael Jackson).
    – Maulik V
    Jan 9 '14 at 10:54
  • 3
    @MaulikV: the "to" is needed, for the reasons described in StoneyB's answer. Jan 9 '14 at 10:58
  • @SteveMelnikoff We shall have to recheck. When you listen to an artist, you may directly say, "I'm listening MJ." Native speaker's comment would be useful. Listening to music is fine but Listening to Michael Jackson is doubtful.
    – Maulik V
    Jan 9 '14 at 11:02

"Listen" or "listening" is an important difference in verb tense; "to" is a preposition, as would be "with" if your meaning were different. Both your verb tense and choice of preposition determine the meaning of the sentence. For example, at first glance:

  • "Listen to music" appears to be a command/suggestion.
  • "Listening to music" appears to be a statement about what you're doing right now.
  • "Listen with music" appears to be a suggestion to listen to something (other than music) with music added. For instance, you might be listening to a dialogue between two people, then adding dramatic background music to make it more interesting, and asking someone to listen to the second version with the added music (maybe after having listened to the first version without music).

Listen is an intransitive verb which means that the verb cannot have a direct object. So in the sentence:

I listen to music.

music is an indirect object because the verb and the object are connected using to.

If you had:

I listen music.

It would be a direct object because there is no preposition liking the verb and the object. So this is incorrect.

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