Learners' Questions

Intermediate level

'See', 'look' or 'watch'?

Episode 200204 / 04 Feb 2020

This week's question

What's the difference between 'see', 'look' and 'watch'? - Shanu

Answer this

How many verb forms does the verb 'lie' have?

Language points

See - perceive
See can mean 'perceive' or 'receive information via your eyes'. See in this meaning is a state verb (so no seeing!)

  • If you look here, you will see me!

See - imagine 
See 
can mean 'imagine'. You can see something happening, see someone as something or see yourself as something.

  • Where do you see yourself in five years' time?
  • In five years' time, I see myself as a serious news reporter.

Look - direct your eyes
Look means 'direct your eyes to see something'.

  • If you look here, you will see me! 

Look - appear
Look 
can mean 'appear'. It's usually followed by an adjective. Combine look with 'at', 'into' or 'over' to mean 'examine' or 'investigate'.

  • That book looks interesting.
  • Your meal looks delicious. 
  • Police are looking into reports of fraud at a local bank.

Watch - observe
Watch can mean 'fix your vision on something to observe it'. 

  • You are watching me.

Watch - be careful of something
Watch can mean 'be careful of something'. We watch for something, watch out for something or watch + question word.  

  • Watch what you say about him. He sees everything.

Watch - guard
Watch 
can mean 'guard' or 'protect'. We can also use watch over. 

  • Please watch my bag while I go to the toilet!

The answer

It has two sets of verb forms: 1 - 'lie', 'lay' and 'lain'. 2 - 'lie', 'lied' and 'lied'. Be careful! They have different meanings.

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