Here is an example from the OXford Dictionary

1. I'll look and see if I've got any sugar in the cupboard.
2. ‘Has the mail come yet?’ ‘I'll look and see.’

Could you please explain the meaning of 'I'll look and see' in the above example ?

I'd appriciate if you could provide more examples.


Mamta D and TRomano have done a good job explaining the construct and the meaning of the phrase.

I'd like to add what the words mean. (I can see why this particular case might be confusing, because the two words might seem to be nearly synonymous, and one can find many different definitions when you look these words up in the dictionary.)

For look, we want Definition #2 (of 8) in Macmillan:

look (v.) to search for someone or something

And for see, we want Definition #5 (of 16) in Collins:

see (v.) to ascertain or find out (a fact)


I'll look and see if I have any sugar in the cupboard.


I'll search for sugar in the cupboard, and [as a result of that search] find out if any sugar is there.

Note that this could be shortened to:

I'll see if I have any sugar in the cupboard.

with minimal loss of meaning.


It used to be taught that phrases such as "try and see", "try and go", "look and see" were substandard, and that they should be replaced with "try to see", "look to see". But these are all idiomatic:

Try and see if you can remember the name of that inn we stayed at.

I'll try and see if there are any open seats left on the flight.

I'll look and see if we have any widgets left in stock.

I'll try and phone him tomorrow if I get a few free minutes.

  • I disagree on "look to see". The argument against "I'll try and phone him" is that, to a prescriptivist, it means "I will try and, also, I will phone him", rather than "I will make an effort to phone him." But "Look and see" in this context really does mean "I will look and, also, I will see": it doesn't mean "I will look in order to see". – David Richerby Nov 20 '14 at 1:31

It means: I'll look inside the cupboard and see if I have any sugar in the cupboard.

Condensed as "look and see"

It's called as a Collocation

More examples given here in the Cambridge dictionary

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