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Difference Between See and Watch

See vs Watch

“See” and “watch” are two English verbs which denote the actions carried out by the eyes. These two actions, or verbs, are not interchangeable, but many people make the mistake of using one in place of another. The difference between “see” and “watch” lies in the intent to see something. Seeing is a perception. We see things even when we do not actually intend to see them because they are right in front of our eyes or happening in front of our eyes. Watching, however, refers to intently watching something, paying attention to something or someone because we want to pay attention towards them or generally something or someone who is in motion.

“See” basically refers to viewing something without the intention of seeing it, but it is used in many other ways too. It also means;

To perceive by sight- “She saw the postman driving past her house.”
To discover or come to know- “I can see now how you cheated your employees.”
The setting or time of- “The past years have seen a bad recession in the country.
Visualize- “I can still see the maple leaves turn red in the fall.”
Understand- “I see now how the problem is solved.”
Recognize- “She sees him for who he is now.”
Examine- “Let us see how they solve the puzzle.”
To provide for- “He has enough cash to see him through the day.”
To judge- “To see one getting charged for his crimes.”
To keep company in courtship- “They are seeing each other for weeks.”
Audience obtained- “You can see the queen in the evening.”
To escort- “Please see the guests to the living room.”

The above-mentioned usages are some of the main usages. There are many more which can be differentiated into intransitive and transitive verb usages.

“Watch” is basically used with the intention of attentively looking at something carefully, especially something or someone who is moving. It is used in many ways. Some of the usages are:

To keep vigil, to stay awake during the night- “She watched over the children.”
To stay attentive or keep guard- “The sailor took the night watch seriously.”
To observe something as a spectator- “Watching a match; watching a movie.”
To be expectant of something- “They waited and watched for the right signals.”
To observe- “The journalist watched the politicians.”
To observe closely in order to check some action- “To be watched by the cops.”
Tend to- “watching weight.”

“Watch” is also used in many different cases; we have mentioned some of them to explain the difference between “see” and “watch.”

“See” and “watch” both can be used in many different ways in the English language, but the basic difference between the two verbs of the senses is the intention involved. “See” is used basically for just perceiving; when you can see something without trying or intending to see, whereas “watch” refers to the intention of somebody to observe something or somebody intently and carefully.

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