Contributed by Daniel Evans



"Vision" words


Many non-native English speakers make mistakes when using " vision" words.  Sometimes we can use more than one word in a certain situation,  but often we need to use only one specific word...this is where mistakes can happen.


The most common "vision " words are:


see: to be aware of visually, to gain knowledge through the eyes.

(This is the easiest word to use, it has a wide meaning and is rarely incorrect)


look at: to focus on, to direct the eyes towards one point.

(This is used when we make a special effort to see a specific thing/area)


watch: to observe, to look at the actions of someone/thing.

(We usually use this word for when we try to see specific actions.  It is also the best phrase to use for visual entertainment.)


Below are some examples of how we commonly use these words.


  • I would like to see the Grand Canyon one day.
  • You can sometimes see Mount Fuji from here.
  • I've lost my dog. Have you seen him?


  • Do you mind if I look at your sketchbook?
  • Look at that woman, she's beautiful!
  • Sometimes, I like to look at photographs from my school days.


  • Let's watch a movie.
  • I watch TV for about two hours each day.
  • When I go to the park, I like to watch the ducks swim.


So we cannot, for example, "look at a movie" or "wacth Mount Fuji", but "see" is okay for both.


 "See"  also has a few other meanings which are not about vision.  For example;


I see = I understand

I'm going to see my friends tonight = I'm going to meet my friends tonight


So remember, be careful when using "vision" words.