What is the difference between Look, See and Watch? ¿Cuál es la diferencia entre Look, See and Watch?

Download a free, simple visual explaination here:  Look See Watch The Graph

‘Look’, ‘see’ and ‘watch’ seem very similar.  They all talk about different ways of using your eyes. However, there are two very important differences.  It depends on how you intend to look or watch and how intense the looking is.

  • When we say ‘see’ we are normally talking about things we can’t avoid seeing.   For example, “I opened the curtains and saw the trees outside.” – I didn’t intend to see them, it just happened. 
  • However, when we use the verb ‘look’, we’re talking about seeing something with an intention.  For example, “This morning I looked at the newspaper” – I intended to see the newspaper.
  • When we ‘watch’something, we intend to look at it but we’re also looking at it quite intensely, usually because it’s moving.  For example, “I watched the bus go through the red traffic light.” “I watched the movie.” We want to see it, we’re looking at it intensely and it’s normally moving.


    • ‘see’ – you didn’t really intend to, it just happened;
    • ‘look’ – you intended to do it; and
    • ‘watch’ you intended to do it and you were looking intensely, usually because it was moving.              

About No More Spanglish

I have been an English teacher for over eight years in Madrid. Most of that time has been spent teaching, correcting and translating in the Media sector. My mission, and that of this blog, is to improve your level of English by eliminating one common/repeated error at a time. For further details - check me out on LinkedIn or email me directly at nomorespanglish@hotmail.com

Posted on 05/02/2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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