• See is used to explain that our eyes notice something, it is not intentional and doesn’t require special effort.
  • Look is different from “see” because we make a special effort to direct our attention toward something with our eyes. It’s not an accident.
  • Watch is used when we look at something for a period of time. It’s a continuous action of looking and observing. It involves paying attention to something with your eyes.

Think of it this way:

We walk to the window to look outside (we purposefully direct our attention to the view outside). Then we suddenly see a car drive by (our eyes notice it but not because we made any special effort). We then decide to stay there and watch to see if anything else is going to happen (we now make a point of using our eyes to pay attention for a longer amount of time, this is a more focused action).

Written by Fleur Isabelle Stewart, English expert at Primera

 

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