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An Easter egg hunt

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Nuala Nuala | 13:44 UK time, Thursday, 8 April 2010

Hi Lyn,

How nice to meet you and welcome to the BBC Learning English blogs. Thanks for asking about our recent long weekend. I had a lovely time over Easter. My partner Nat and I spent Easter Sunday with my friend John and his family in the countryside in Horsham, which is in West Sussex, about an hour out of London. We had great fun having an Easter egg hunt in his mum's house. Each person who was there had to find three chocolate eggs with their names on them which were hidden somewhere around the house. I didn't take any photos but you might recognise John's house from this episode of The Flatmates. One of my hidden chocolate eggs was on the ledge just behind Helen!

54_helen_hall.jpg

You've got a lovely chatty style in your writing that's just right for a blog, and the conversations you have with yourself in your head made me laugh!

Please tell us more about your job. What exactly does a property consultant do? Are you an estate agent or someone who buys and sells land? And how is the global recession affecting house and property prices in Thailand?

Turning now to the language aspects of your blog, I thought first we'd look at descriptions. After that, we'll look at the difference between watch, see and look and I'll also set you a few short tasks to do on them.

Descriptions
Let's have a look at this sentence from your blog:

My eyes were burn and blur.

You eyes can burn but your eyes can't be blurry, only something you look at can be described as blurry or blurred. So for example you could say:

My eyes burned and the screen was blurry.

or

The screen became blurred and the more I looked at it, the more my eyes burned.

See, watch, and look
These three verbs are all related to using our eyes but we use each verb in slightly different ways in English.

See is the plain, everyday verb for something that comes into our eyesight or that we become aware of:

I saw your mother yesterday in the supermarket.
Have you seen the boss anywhere this morning?

We use look when we want to talk really trying to see what's there and concentrating on it. You can see something without any real effort, but if you look at something, you're making an effort to see it:

With look, sometimes you need the word at and sometimes you don't. We use at with look if we there's an object (if we look at something). We don't use at if there's no object.

Where are you keys? They're right there. Look!
I looked at loads of dresses but didn't find anything I really liked.
A: Can't you see anything different about me?
B: No.
A: Look!
B: Oh, you've had your hair done. It looks lovely.

Watch is like look. We watch things that are happening, moving, changing or developing. We don't need a preposition with watch (so there's no need for at or on).

Did you watch the match on Saturday?
Watch that guy there. I think he's trying to shoplift something.

Now, let's have a look at some of your sentences from your blog, as well as some others I've made up. Your homework task is to choose the correct verb to complete each sentence:

1. As my finger was hovering over the delete key, I said to myself, 'No, no no no no no, watch on / watch/ look/ look at / see the message again.

2. What do you want to look at / see / watch on TV tonight?

3. Did you watch / see / look what she was wearing?

4. I've seen / looked at / looked / watched everywhere for my bag but I can't find it anywhere.

5. Look / Watch who is it! It's Maria.

6. I watched / looked at/ looked all her holiday photos but I didn't see / watch one that I thought was interesting.

7. See / Look / Watch into our minds and then we will find the right answer.

That's all for now.
Hope to hear from you again soon,

Nuala

Vocabulary
partner - boyfriend or girlfriend
countryside - area of land that's not in a city or town
hunt - search, look for
ledge - small shelf
hovering - staying in one place in the air, usually by moving quickly from side to side
chatty - informal, conversational
an estate agent - a person who's job is to buy and sell houses

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    That was really fantastic explanation about see, look & watch, how situational these words are? I have never come across this kind of typical explanation. I appreciate your efforts which you put in explaining this. It really helps me to improve my conversational skills.


    Thanks
    Rajesh Talluri.

  • Comment number 2.

    see:you see many things in area of your vision
    look:you see one thing or person
    watch:you see with some concentration

  • Comment number 3.

    Hi Nuala,

    You explained the word see, look and watch really well. I never thought about the use of these words but just used them where they sounded right. Your explanation made me realise the differences between these words.
    Would you please also explain the use of word ‘the’. Occasionally, in my written work the use of word ‘the’ is marked wrong and I was wondering if there are any simple rules for using it. I will greatly appreciate it if you can help me. Look forward to your next blog.

    Best wishes

    Negee

  • Comment number 4.

    Hi Nuala,

    I have commented on your message earlier but forgot to mention one point. I am not too clear about the use of ‘it’ in one of your sentences. The sentence you stated is, ‘Watch that guy there. I think it’s trying to shoplift something.’ My question: Is it ok to use 'it' for a person? I always thought that the pronoun'it' is used for animal. If I had to write this sentence I would have written he instead of it. Can you please clarify this for me? I will be waiting for your reply. Thanks

    Best wishes

    Negee

  • Comment number 5.

    Hi Negee,

    Thanks for your comments. I'll see if there's a way I can include some hints on using 'the', 'a' and 'an' (or 'articles' as they're called) in the blogs some time soon.

    Thanks for spotting that 'it' typo. I've fixed it now. You're absolutely right though, we don't use 'it' to talk about people - it's considered rude. We use 'it' to refer only to inanimate objects (things that aren't alive), animals or plants .

    All the best,

    Nuala

 

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