I have these 2 sentences:

Roadside stalls are a common sight in the city.

I stared out of the window of the train on the ever-changing scene.

In both sentences, I think "sight" and "scene" both refer to "what we can see". So can "sight" and "scene" be interchangeable in these 2 sentences?

2 Answers 2


The two words do both refer to things we see but the concepts are not interchangable. In my native UK English understanding, sight, when used as a noun, has the meaning of a individual instance of seeing a single, specific thing.

I caught sight of the train as it emerged from the tunnel.

A scene has broader scope, a literal dictionary meaning is

the place where an incident in real life or fiction occurs or occurred.

we would take time to view a scene, turn our heads, move our eyes, and focus on individual features. Related words would be view and scenery.

I love the view from the top of this hill, the scenery is so beautiful.



A common sight means 'a thing that you often see'.

The scene you see from a train means the whole landscape. You might speak of seeing a sight from the train too, if you mean one thing such as a particular building that you go past.

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