#EngTrivia: ‘See,’ ‘look,’ ‘watch’

Let’s talk about these three verbs: ‘see,’ ‘look,’ and ‘watch.’ These verbs are easily confused as they all relate to an action that we do with our eyes. So let us break down each of those verbs to understand how they differ.


If you ‘see‘ something, you are aware that the thing is there, but you may not pay attention to it.


  • “I saw a cellphone in that room, but I don’t remember what kind of phone it was. Could it be your lost phone?”

Look (at)

If you ‘look‘ at something, you intentionally try to see it, and you pay attention to it. Much like ‘menatap‘ in bahasa Indonesia. Note that we are talking about ‘look’ as an intransitive verb (not followed by object or complement), therefore it is followed by preposition ‘at.’


  • “I look at the novel that I just bought and decide that now is not the time to read such a thick novel.”


If you ‘watch‘ something, you pay attention to it for a period of time, anticipating and following any movement. Watch can mean ‘menonton‘ or ‘mengawasi‘ in Bahasa Indonesia.


  • “Could you watch my bag while I go to the restroom?”

See or watch a movie?

‘See’ and ‘watch’ are also often confused when it comes to talking about movies. So, do you ‘see’ or ‘watch’ a movie?

Well, both ‘see’ and ‘watch’ can be used to talk about movies or TV programs, but we usually say we ‘see a movie‘ when we refer to going to the theater. If you say you ‘watch a movie,’ it implies that you watch it on TV or DVD or a streaming service.

So, has that cleared up the confusion yet?

Compiled and written by @fafafin for @EnglishTips4U on Thursday, October 20, 2016

Related post(s):


3 thoughts on “#EngTrivia: ‘See,’ ‘look,’ ‘watch’”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s