Difference between Look and See | Look vs See

One of the most common confusion that students face is whether to use ‘look’ or ‘see’ in a sentence. What do you think? Are the words ‘look’ and ‘see’ the same? Can you use these words interchangeably? All these questions will be answered in the following article.

Even though many people think that the English Language is confusing, if you know the meaning of frequently confused words, you are able to use those words correctly. It’s true that, unlike other subjects, English is filled with homophones or words that, though they are quite different from one another, can be used interchangeably. Like the words ‘see’ and ‘look’ are often used interchangeably, but a problem arises when it sometimes changes the context of the sentence. So to make sure that whenever you are using these words, you are using them correctly, the following points will explain at length everything that one needs to know about the words ‘look’ and ‘see’. Let’s have a look at the points:

Table Summarising the Difference between Look and See

Look

See

Meaning

When the word ‘look’ is used in a sentence, it means to direct one’s eyes to watch something/someone in a particular direction.

The word ‘see’ is used when something is perceived by our eyes or we catch a glimpse of something.

Usage

It is used as a Verb.

It is used as a Verb.

Example

Look at the beautiful garden!

Can you see the ship from here?

Though the table above shows that the terms ‘look’ and ‘see’ refer to the actions done by the eyes, they are neither synonymous nor can be used interchangeably. Children who got confused with these terms can now look up this table and use the words correctly. The following points discussed below will help students have a better understanding of the words ‘look’ and ‘see’.

The Difference between Look and See – Meaning

We might often have used the terms ‘look’ and ‘see’ synonymously and even interchangeably, thinking they both mean the same thing. But that’s not the case. As the table above shows, when we use the word ‘look’ in a sentence, we urge the other person to direct their eyes to watch something/someone in a particular direction. For example, “Look! Such a beautiful painting.” Whereas the word “see” is used when something is perceived by our eyes or we catch a glimpse of something. For example, “Do you want to see the new Spider-Man movie?” Once the students grasp this difference between the two terms ‘look’ and ‘see’, it will be easier for them to know how to use them.

Example of Look and See

The following examples will ensure students understand the terms ‘look’ and ‘see’.

Look – Let us go and look at the gorgeous red dress in the next shop. (verb)

See – Can you see and check the answer that I’ve written for the exam. (verb)

Once students understand how the words ‘look’ and ‘see’ are different from one another, they can use the words correctly.

Look and See – Conclusion

The words ‘look’ and ‘see’, though, are actions done through eyes; they don’t mean the same thing thus can’t be used synonymously or interchangeably. When students are using these words, they have to understand the way they want to do the action, i.e. whether they just want to ‘look’ at something or someone or ‘see’ something/someone intently. The BYJU’S website also offers various articles on many such ‘differences between two words’ that students often get confused with and end up using incorrectly.

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