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The difference between the verbs 'look', 'see' and 'watch'.

The verbs 'look', 'see' and 'watch' have different meanings and are used as in the examples given below.

LOOK means to turn your eyes in a specific direction or concentrate on something.
  • Look at that house. It's on fire!
  • If you look in the top cupboard you'll find cups and saucers.
  • People turn to look at the man who was shouting.
  • Sophie looked at all the dresses and finally selected one to try on.
  • My father looked out the window before he opened the door.
  • People should look carefully before they cross the road.
  • Look at the crowd. There must be something happening.
SEE means to perceive with the eyes or to notice something.
  • From the back of the hotel you can see the lake.
  • Have you seen my keys anywhere? I can't find them.
  • Let me know if you see any mistakes.
  • My grandmother can't see anything without her glasses.
  • Did you see how excited the children were when the clown arrived?
  • Can you see that helicopter up there?
  • Yesterday we saw a fox in the garden!
WATCH means to observe or follow something attentively over a period of time.
  • We were watching a film with the phone rang.
    Note: We go to the cinema/theatre to see a film/play/show, and when we get there, we sit down to watch it.)
  • The whole family went to watch the parade.
  • The owner watched the boys as they approached the shop.
  • Jack decided to stay home and watch the football match on telelvision.
  • The police decided to watch the suspect's movements.
  • Watch that saucepan and make sure the milk doesn't boil over!
  • The children watched the teacher attentively as she showed them what to do.

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