Consider this expression

Dude, have you seen that song? It is insane.

Obviously saying 'heard' in place of 'seen' make more sense, but over here what I want to ask is Have you heard about the song not exactly hearing the actual song?

  • 1
    No. Seen is not the same as heard about.
    – Matt Ellen
    Commented Mar 10, 2013 at 16:55
  • 2
    You can probably assume any statement starting with Dude and using insane approvingly is likely to be from a "not-very-careful" speaker. But actually, although this is a glaring example of a "mixed sense" (as opposed to the more common "mixed tense") error, the verb to see is often used to mean "to know tour, to understand". Blind people often just say "I see" when they mean "I understand", same as everyone else. Commented Mar 10, 2013 at 16:56
  • @FumbleFingers Similarly, deaf people often say, 'I hear you,' meaning they perceive the concept, not the sound waves.
    – JimM
    Commented Nov 15, 2014 at 15:21

2 Answers 2


Have you heard about the song?

is correct. It means you know about it from a news report or someone told you about it. It does not assume that you have actually heard the song.

Once you actually hear the song, you can say

I heard that song.

I don't think seen makes any sense in this context (other than possibly a music video or performance).

  • There's nothing wrong with he then wants to know if the Representative has seen about the speech the Representative made last night. Once the word "about" is introduced, it's irrelevant whether the thing being asked about is visual or auditory. Commented Mar 10, 2013 at 17:42
  • In your example, "seen about the speech" didn't seem natural to me, so I checked on US google. For example "According to the reports I've seen about the speech, Obama is preparing..", but in this case seen refers to the "reports", not the speech. Your example is from an Italian-American writer, maybe its OK but the grammer seems strange to me.
    – user485
    Commented Mar 10, 2013 at 20:08
  • I suppose every native speaker is entitled to their own opinion as to how literally they want to interpret see (understand) and see about (be aware of). I don't think I've ever heard a blind person say they saw about [some news item], but all the ones I've known (even those blind from birth) casually say things like "I see what you mean", even though they'll admit it sounds "odd" when pointed out. Would you have a problem with the other way around - heard about the picture? Commented Mar 10, 2013 at 21:22
  • "heard about the picture" would be OK if meaning that someone told you about it. But it does not imply you actually saw the picture. As for "I see what you mean", in this sense "see" means "understand".
    – user485
    Commented Mar 10, 2013 at 22:55
  • I don't see how you can square saying it's okay to have heard about the picture if someone told you about it, but you've got a problem with seen about the song if you read about it (or saw it on the TV news, for example). Commented Mar 10, 2013 at 23:10

Any time someone addresses me as dude, I assume the question is informal. In the context of a music video or viewing the title on the charts - the song being the title, not the actual play - 'Have you seen that song,' would be permissible. Although, better options would be 'Have you seen the video of that song,' or 'Have you seen that song title on the charts?"

  • Realizing that OP's intended question is 'Have you heard about the song,' it should also be emphasized that - with the increasing popularity of music videos - the question, 'Have you seen that song,' will become more common.
    – JimM
    Commented Nov 15, 2014 at 15:16

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