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I have confusion about following words because it's Gujarati meaning for all are same. What is actual difference between following words

  • Look,
  • See,
  • Watch

If possible then explain with example.

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  • This can help: vocabulary.cl/Lists/See_Look_Watch_Hear_Listen.htm , but please start using dictionaries. thefreedictionary.com
    – user5267
    Mar 27, 2015 at 11:29
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    Have you looked these up in an English dictionary?
    – Hot Licks
    Mar 27, 2015 at 11:48
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    Because you're an English language learner, perhaps?
    – Hot Licks
    Mar 27, 2015 at 12:03
  • Because this site is for asking questions like "What does 'metaphysical radius' mean?"
    – Hot Licks
    Mar 27, 2015 at 12:04
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    Yes, there are a lot of questions here that really belong on ELL.
    – Hot Licks
    Mar 27, 2015 at 12:07

4 Answers 4

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The easiest way to differentiate the meanings of the verb, is by intent:

You can "see" something accidentally.

"Looking" requires effort.

"Watching" requires time and effort.

If you look carefully, you might see a shooting star. If you watch for a while, you will have a better chance of seeing one.

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  • Can you give real time example where we used these words?
    – Sadikhasan
    Mar 27, 2015 at 11:35
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These words have different connotations with regard to activeness or intent.

Look is generally the most passive. Casting your eyes in the direction of something may be called looking.

See is more active. One might say that seeing involves not only looking at something but more closely. It implies that there is some understanding of the thing being seen, not merely visually sensing it.

Watch gives the sense of actively seeing, but with intent. It also connotes seeing for a period of time. You might accidentally see a meteor streak across the night sky, or you may spend an hour watching the night sky for meteors.

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  • Can you give real time example where we used these words?
    – Sadikhasan
    Mar 27, 2015 at 11:35
  • @Joel Brown - How weird! Are we tuned into the same brain frequency or what?
    – Oldbag
    Mar 27, 2015 at 11:35
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I would use see to refer to something that you perceive through your eyes, I would use look to refer to something I am pointing my eyes at (whether I am actually seeing it or not) and watch to refer to something I am actively looking at.

For example, if I casually put my eyes on a car while walking down the street, I would be looking at it, but if I was sleepy, or distracted I could look without seeing it. On the other hand if I was not looking at it and it suddenly entered my field of vision I could see it, and if it was a car that raised my curiosity for whatever reason and I was to follow it with my eyes I would be watching it.

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There's no better source for separating synonyms than this. Read this section:

Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Synonyms: A Dictionary of Discriminated ...

2 See, look, watch can all mean to perceive something ...

Also, read the definition of "see" on the same p. 718.

Read any number of the threads here for a discussion and many examples. E.g., this one.

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    I guess OP is asking for more basic explanations and definitions!!!
    – user5267
    Mar 27, 2015 at 11:47
  • I want example like I cannot use see instead of look or watch. I must have to use particular word for particular activity.
    – Sadikhasan
    Mar 27, 2015 at 11:49
  • Well, I'll leave this then as future reference, to be later grasped and admired:-)
    – Marius Hancu
    Mar 27, 2015 at 11:51
  • @Sadikhasan I added a link in my answer taking you to many examples.
    – Marius Hancu
    Mar 27, 2015 at 12:03

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