Here is the example that came up today: My mother went to the park to _______ birds.
Would you use look at or watch, and why?
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Both are technically acceptable (neither is ungrammatical), but it depends what your nuanced meaning is. I would normally use them in differing situations. For example: I would go to a zoo to look at birds, but go to a park to watch them.
My mother went to the park to look at birds.
This sounds to me that she goes to the park and sort of walks around to observe the birds as though they're an exhibit. She might be examining the different species or characteristics of various birds.
My mother went to the park to watch birds.
In this one, it seems your mother goes to the park, sits down, and observes the birds from a distance. Maybe it's relaxing to her or something.
Good question. There are some nuances to the
see that many people take for granted.
watch/seethis cool website I found.
looked at/saw/watched him count out the money.
watched/saw/looked at the painting for 5 minutes.
Do you do anything in the morning? I watch/
see/look atpeople surf at the beach in the morning.
I've been looking at
/seeing/watchingthis picture for about 5 minutes now. It's so beautiful.
seemy cool magic trick.