Someone loves a person a lot (like a mother), and it breaks that person's heart when the person (s)he loves cries. Thus that person says:

I can't see you crying.

I can't stand to see you crying.

Or should it simply be:

I don't like seeing you cry.

Does the first one work?

1 Answer 1


Each is OK, but the meaning and emphasis are slightly different. And the specific emotional content is not necessarily clear in the first two.

I can't see you crying.

This is a little awkward. It seems to be leaving something out. It might be used when a person is trying to say that they are unable to endure the experience. Or, possibly, that they are unable to remain passive during the experience. An example might be "I can't see you cry without doing something to make you feel better."

Alternatively, it might be indicating the speaker is very callous and hard. They are stating that they literally don't see the other person crying. They can't see it, so it does not affect them. A version of this is "I'm neither sugar nor salt, so tears won't work on me."

I can't stand to see you crying.

This is little more clear. The speaker is saying that they cannot stand, meaning they cannot endure being idle, when they see the other person crying. They are claiming directly that they will try to do something about it.

Note that it does not express any specific emotion about it. The speaker might try to comfort the crying person. Or the speaker might turn away so the sight of the crying person is removed.

I don't like seeing you cry.

This is specifically indicating the emotion the speaker feels due to the sight. But now, the action has been removed. Maybe the speaker is able to stand idly and endure the sight, or maybe he will do something about it.

To choose the correct wording you need to figure out what action and emotion you want to express. It may be you need more than one sentence to get both the action and emotion.

  • Is this correct to add as or when in this sentence? "I don't like seeing as/when you cry".
    – Boyep
    Jan 11, 2020 at 20:43
  • 1
    Just leave out as and when. "I don't like seeing you cry." Also, my personal preference is never to use the "slash" thing. I don't like "and/or" for example.
    – puppetsock
    Jan 11, 2020 at 20:48
  • So does the last one sounds the best? Jan 12, 2020 at 9:14
  • 1
    I can't stand [something] means I can't bear or endure it. @puppetsock's interpretation cannot endure being idle would be better expressed as can't stand by and see you crying. Jan 12, 2020 at 9:45

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