Look vs. See

Difference Between Look and See

Look and see are English words. See is a verb while ‘look’ is both a verb as well as a noun. Both seem to have given the same meaning. But there is a lot of lexical and semantic difference between the two.  They are not changeable and should be used with care.

‘Look’ means ‘to look at something for a purpose’. Look at the example below.

1. I looked at that strange creature.

2. I have made a beautiful dress. Just look at it.

In the above sentences, the word ‘look’ means ‘to look at a thing or person with a purpose’. The word ‘see’ conveys the meaning, ‘to see without a purpose. For example, when we are sitting, someone came across us suddenly. Then we see him without any purpose. This is the important difference between the two.

Look at the two sentences given below:

1. Have you seen my dog?(have you come across it by chance.)

2. I saw her in the park in the morning. (I did not go to see her. She met by chance.)

The word ‘look’ is used to lay emphasis. For example, ‘Just look at it!’ Here the speaker is thrilled by something and could not contain his amazement. ‘to observe’, is the synonym of ‘to see’. Look at the example,

I see the difference. (Make observation and explains)

There is one more grammatical difference between ‘to look’ and ‘to see’. ‘look’ is used as a movement verb also while ‘see’ is purely a static verb and therefore cannot stand in progressive sentence. Look at the examples:

I am looking at the picture.

I am seeing the picture. (This is a wrong sentence)

Thus we see a lot of difference between ‘to see’ and ‘to look’. One should take care while using them.


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