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Difference Between Look and See

Look vs See

Look and See are two words in the English language that look alike when it comes to their meaning and connotation. They are to be used with difference and hence are not interchangeable.

The word ‘look’ is used to indicate the sense of ‘to look at something for a reason, with an intention.’ Observe the two sentences given below:

1. Look at that strange animal.

2. Look at the drawings I made last night.

In both the sentences given above the word ‘look’ is used in the sense of looking at something with intention. On the other hand the word ‘see’ is used to convey the meaning of ‘to see something that comes within the range of your sight even if you are not intent on looking at it’. This is the important difference between the two words, ‘look’ and ‘see’.

Observe the two sentences given below:

1. Did you see the girl?

2. I saw you today in the park.

In both the sentences given above the word ‘see’ is used in the sense of seeing something with no intention of seeing it. This is in fact the major difference between the two words.

Sometimes the word ‘look’ is used in the emphatic sense as in the sentence ‘Look at this shot!’. Here the speaker was thrilled by the baseball shot executed by the player. He could not contain his happiness. Hence he was explaining to his friend nearby about the shot with the words ‘Look at this shot’.

On the other hand the word ‘see’ is used in the sense of observation as in the sentence ‘I see the difference’. In this sentence the speaker could observe the difference between two objects or persons and hence he was explaining the observed difference to his friend as ‘I see the difference’.

The usage of the word ‘look’ sometimes is shifted to mean ‘concentrate’ or ‘focus’ as in the sentence, ‘Look at me’. In this sentence, the lover was asking her friend to look at her. She was only trying to shift the focus of the friend towards her. In such a case the word ‘see’ would not make the necessary sense. She would not have said ‘See me’. It would not have made any sense had she uttered so. The difference between the two words should be carefully observed if you want to write right or speak right.


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