Word pairs: look | see | watch


Look at me - Can you see it? - Let's watch a movie


We use look at to say we direct our eyes in a specific direction and pay attention to it:

  • Look at me.
  • Look at that weird painting.


We can use see when we identify anything with our eyes. It is involuntary and involves using a sense:

  • I can see him. He is right here. (I noticed him with my eyes)
  • Have you seen my keys anywhere?


We use watch to say we look at something for a longer period of time:

  • I love watching the sunset.
  • We watched the fireworks on Copacabana last year.

Note: We usually use see when talking about plays, sports events and other performances. We can use both see and watch for films:

  • Did you see the game yesterday?
  • I watched/saw a great movie last night.
Further learning
Description Author Language
Really quick guide on when to use 'look', 'see' and 'watch'. Easy English
Examples using 'look', 'see' and 'watch'. engVid