Archive for August 23, 2010

the difference between words: hear and listen to


Last week, I went over the difference between “see”, “look at” and “watch”. Today, I want to go over the difference between “hear” and “look at” which is closely related to the post last week. The word “hear” means that we physically pick up sounds with our ears, but we are not focusing on those sounds. In this way, “hear” is similar to the word “see”. The term “listen to” means that we are focusing on those sounds. In this way, “listen to” is similar to “look at”. Here are some examples:

Didn’t you hear the phone ring? I’ve been trying to call you all day.

Can you hear that? It sounds like a baby crying.

I could hear a strange sound coming from my neighbor’s apartment last night. I wonder what he was doing.

On the weekend, I listened to music. I especially like to listen to old time rock and roll.

You have to listen to this joke! It’s so funny!

The doctor listened to my heartbeat and told me he thinks I have a problem with my heart.

The term “listen to” also has another meaning. It can also mean to pay attention to what someone says to you and to do what they say. For example:

I didn’t listen to my parents when they said I should go to university, and now I really regret that.

If you listen to what Frank has to say, you’ll be very successful at this company. He’s been here for a long time.

Listen to me! If you don’t stop smoking, you’re going to have a lot of health problems in the future!

So, that is how we use these words in English. I hope everyone has a great week!

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