Listen vs. Hear

Difference Between Listen and Hear

The two words Listen and Hear are often confused as far as their meanings or implications are involved. We use the verb ‘hear’ when we just want to say that the sound is reaching our ears. On the other hand, the word ‘listen’ is used to suggest that we are focusing on what is being said, paying attention and are trying to hear as much as possible. This is the main difference between the two verbs ‘hear’ and ‘listen’.

Therefore, the word ‘listen’ implies that ‘attention’ and ‘concentration’ are involved. On the other hand, the word ‘hear’ is not suggestive of either concentration or attention. Look at the two sentences:

1. Suddenly I heard a loud noise.

2. Can you hear me?

In the above sentences, you can notice that the word ‘mean’ is used to suggest the ‘sound’, which reaches the ears.

Look at the two sentences:

1. Listen to my words carefully.

2. I did not listen to what he was saying.

In both the sentences given above you can see that the word ‘listen’ is been used as evocative sense of ‘concentration’ as the sentences mean ‘concentrate on what I say’ and ‘I did not focus on what he said’ respectively. This is the main difference between the two words.

However, we use the verb ‘hear’ when we speak of music performances:

1. I heard his music alive.

2. I heard him play guitar.

In both sentences, you can see that the word ‘hear’ is used in relation to the music.

The word ‘mean’ is sometimes used in a figurative sense as in the sentence ‘I can hear him getting up the stairs. These are the major differences between the two verbs, hear and listen.

 

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