See – Look – Watch… What’s the difference?

When talking about different ways to take in information and observe the world, we can’t escape some of the confusion that comes from verbs that are similar. For example, verbs that all have something to do with actions done with our eyes: ‘to see,’ ‘to look’ and ‘to watch.’

In this digital information age, we are flooded with new information to see, look at, or watch every minute of every day. Using these verbs correctly will set your English apart. Here’s how…

Let’s start by defining our verbs:

See – to become aware of (someone or something) by using your eyes.
Look – to direct your eyes in a particular direction with intention.
Watch – to look at (someone or something) for an amount of time and pay attention to what is happening.

Let’s take it a step further and ‘look at’ how to use them in conversation!
See is used when the sense of sight is being used.

‘Did you see that airplane?
‘I saw you driving to the office yesterday.’

On the other hand, looking and watching are usually used when you are talking about paying attention to what you see or hear.
Look is used to say something about where you are directing your attention.

‘Look at that mountain range.’
‘I’m looking at the pictures she took in Germany.’

Watch is used to say that you are paying attention to something by looking at it for a period of time.

‘Did you watch that new TV show last night?
‘Watch where you are going! You almost ran over that cat.’

Here is a graphic to help determine which one to use in your daily conversations!