Look vs. See

Main Difference

The main difference between Look and See is that Look is to focus your eyes in a particular direction, whereas See is noticing something using your eyes.

Look vs. See — Is There a Difference?
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Difference Between Look and See

Look vs. See

Look is defined as to ponder about something in a deliberate manner using your eyes, whereas see is defined as casual visual perception of things using your eyes.

Look vs. See

Looking is a regular verb. On the other hand, seeing is an irregular verb.

Look vs. See

We can use the word “look” transitively or intransitively. Conversely, see is used transitively only.

Look vs. See

Look is gazing in a particular direction to show your concern, whereas see is just about noticing and observing the surroundings without any concern.

Look vs. See

Looking is a voluntary action, which is under our conscious control. Contrarily, seeing is an involuntary action, which is not under our conscious control.

Look vs. See

To look, we force our eyes to focus on the object. On the flip side, to see, there is no need to force your eyes in a specific direction to concentrate or chew over something.

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Look vs. See

Look can be used for progressive actions, which means that it can describe things in motion. In contrast, see cannot be used for progressive actions, which means it cannot describe the motion of things.

Look vs. See

The past tense of look is not changed and remains the same. On the other hand, the past tense of see is changed to “saw.”

Look vs. See

The past participle of look remains unchanged, whereas the past participle of see is changed to “seen.”

Look vs. See

The preposition “to” is used when look is used with an object, while no preposition is used when see is used with an object.

Lookverb

To try to see, to pay attention to with one’s eyes.

Look at my new car!Don’t look in the closet.

Seeverb

(stative) To perceive or detect with the eyes, or as if by sight.

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Lookverb

To appear, to seem.

It looks as if it’s going to rain soon.

Seeverb

To witness or observe by personal experience.

Now I've seen it all!I have been blind since birth and I love to read Braille. When the books arrive in from the library, I can’t wait to see what stories they have sent me.I saw military service in Vietnam.

Lookverb

(copulative) To give an appearance of being.

That painting looks nice.

Seeverb

To form a mental picture of.

Lookverb

To search for, to try to find.

Seeverb

(figuratively) To understand.

Do you see what I mean?

Lookverb

To face or present a view.

The hotel looks over the valleys of the HinduKush.

Seeverb

To come to a realization of having been mistaken or misled.

They're blind to the damage they do, but someday they'll see.

Lookverb

To expect or anticipate.

I look to each hour for my lover’s arrival.

Seeverb

(social) To meet, to visit.

Lookverb

(transitive) To express or manifest by a look.

Seeverb

To have an interview with; especially, to make a call upon; to visit.

to go to see a friend

Lookverb

To make sure of, to see to.

Seeverb

To date frequently.

I've been seeing her for two months

Lookverb

To show oneself in looking.

Look out of the window [i.e. lean out] while I speak to you.

Seeverb

(transitive) To be the setting or time of.

The 20th century saw humanity's first space exploration.

Lookverb

To look at; to turn the eyes toward.

Seeverb

(by extension) To ensure that something happens, especially while witnessing it.

I'll see you hang for this!I saw that they didn't make any more trouble.

Lookverb

To seek; to search for.

Seeverb

(gambling) To respond to another player's bet with a bet of equal value.

I'll see your twenty dollars and raise you ten.

Lookverb

To influence, overawe, or subdue by looks or presence.

to look down opposition

Seeverb

To foresee, predict, or prophesy.

The oracle saw the destruction of the city.

Lookverb

(baseball) To look at a pitch as a batter without swinging at it.

The fastball caught him looking.Clem Labine struck Mays out looking at his last at bat.It's unusual for Mays to strike out looking. He usually takes a cut at it.

Seeverb

To determine by trial or experiment; to find out (if or whether).

I'll come over later and see if I can fix your computer.

Lookinterjection

Pay attention.

Look, I'm going to explain what to do, so you have to listen closely.

Seeverb

(used in the imperative) Used to emphasise a proposition.

You see, Johnny, your Dad isn't your real dad.

Looknoun

The action of looking, an attempt to see.

Let’s have a look under the hood of the car.

Seeverb

(used in the imperative) To reference or to study for further details.

Step 4: In the system, check out the laptop to the student (see: "Logging Resources" in the Tutor Manual).This article is about the insect. For the English rock band, see [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Beatles The Beatles].For a complete proof of the Poincaré conjecture, see Appendix C.

Looknoun

(often plural) Physical appearance, visual impression.

She got her mother’s looks.I don’t like the look of the new design.

Seeinterjection

Directing the audience to pay attention to the following

See here, fellas, there's no need for all this rucus!

Looknoun

A facial expression.

He gave me a dirty look.If looks could kill ...

Seeinterjection

Introducing an explanation

See, in order to win the full prize we would have to come up with a scheme to land a rover on the Moon.

Looknoun

the expression on a person's face;

a sad expressiona look of triumphan angry face

Seenoun

A diocese, archdiocese; a region of a church, generally headed by a bishop, especially an archbishop.

Looknoun

the act of directing the eyes toward something and perceiving it visually;

he went out to have a lookhis look was fixed on her eyeshe gave it a good looking athis camera does his looking for him

Seenoun

The office of a bishop or archbishop; bishopric or archbishopric

Looknoun

physical appearance;

I don't like the looks of this place

Seenoun

A seat; a site; a place where sovereign power is exercised.

Looknoun

the general atmosphere of a place or situation and the effect that it has on people;

the feel of the city excited hima clergyman improved the tone of the meetingit had the smell of treason

Seenoun

the seat within a bishop's diocese where his cathedral is located

Lookverb

perceive with attention; direct one's gaze towards;

She looked over the expanse of landLook at your child!Look--a deer in the backyard!

Seeverb

perceive by sight or have the power to perceive by sight;

You have to be a good observer to see all the detailsCan you see the bird in that tree?He is blind--he cannot see

Lookverb

give a certain impression or have a certain outward aspect;

She seems to be sleepingThis appears to be a very difficult problemThis project looks fishyThey appeared like people who had not eaten or slept for a long time

Seeverb

perceive (an idea or situation) mentally;

Now I see!I just can't see your pointDoes she realize how important this decision is?I don't understand the idea

Lookverb

have a certain outward or facial expression;

How does she look?The child looks unhappyShe looked pale after the surgery

Seeverb

perceive or be contemporaneous with;

We found Republicans winning the officesYou'll see a lot of cheating in this schoolI want to see resultsThe 1960 saw the rebellion of the younger generation against established traditionsI want to see results

Lookverb

search or seek;

We looked all day and finally found the child in the forestLook elsewhere for the perfect gift!

Seeverb

imagine; conceive of; see in one's mind;

I can't see him on horseback!I can see what will happenI can see a risk in this strategy

Lookverb

be oriented in a certain direction, often with respect to another reference point; be opposite to;

The house looks northMy backyard look onto the pondThe building faces the park

Seeverb

deem to be;

She views this quite differently from meI consider her to be shallowI don't see the situation quite as negatively as you do

Lookverb

take charge of or deal with;

Could you see about lunch?I must attend to this matterShe took care of this business

Seeverb

get to know or become aware of, usually accidentally;

I learned that she has two grown-up childrenI see that you have been promoted

Lookverb

convey by one's expression;

She looked her devotion to me

Seeverb

see or watch;

view a show on televisionThis program will be seen all over the worldview an exhibitionCatch a show on Broadwaysee a movie

Lookverb

look forward to the probable occurrence of;

We were expecting a visit from our relativesShe is looking to a promotionhe is waiting to be drafted

Seeverb

find out, learn, or determine with certainty, usually by making an inquiry or other effort;

I want to see whether she speaks FrenchSee whether it worksfind out if he speaks RussianCheck whether the train leaves on time

Lookverb

accord in appearance with;

You don't look your age!

Seeverb

come together;

I'll probably see you at the meetingHow nice to see you again!

Lookverb

have faith or confidence in;

you can count on me to help you any timeLook to your friends for supportYou can bet on that!Depend on your family in times of crisis

Seeverb

be careful or certain to do something; make certain of something;

He verified that the valves were closedSee that the curtains are closedcontrol the quality of the product

Seeverb

go to see for professional or business reasons;

You should see a lawyerWe had to see a psychiatrist

Seeverb

go to see for a social visit;

I went to see my friend Mary the other day

Seeverb

visit a place, as for entertainment;

We went to see the Eiffel Tower in the morning

Seeverb

take charge of or deal with;

Could you see about lunch?I must attend to this matterShe took care of this business

Seeverb

receive as a specified guest;

the doctor will see you nowThe minister doesn't see anybody before noon

Seeverb

date regularly; have a steady relationship with;

Did you know that she is seeing an older man?He is dating his former wife again!

Seeverb

see and understand, have a good eye;

The artist must first learn to see

Seeverb

deliberate or decide;

See whether you can come tomorrowlet's see--which movie should we see tonight?

Seeverb

observe as if with an eye;

The camera saw the burglary and recorded it

Seeverb

observe, check out, and look over carefully or inspect;

The customs agent examined the baggageI must see your passport before you can enter the country

Seeverb

go or live through;

We had many trials to go throughhe saw action in Viet Nam

Seeverb

accompany or escort;

I'll see you to the door

Seeverb

match or meet;

I saw the bet of one of my fellow players

Seeverb

make sense of; assign a meaning to;

What message do you see in this letter?How do you interpret his behavior?

Seeadverb

compare (used in texts to point the reader to another location in the text)

Comparison Chart

LookSee
A voluntary action of concentrating your eyes on something is called look.An involuntary action of noticing and casually observing things is called see.
Concentration
RequiredNot required
Verb
Regular verbIrregular verb
Automatic Action
Not an automatic actionAn automatic action
Progressive Tense
Can be used in progressive tensesCannot be used in progressive tenses
Way of Perceiving
Directing gaze in a specific directionPerceiving with eyes
Relation with Facts
Not related to factsRelated to facts
Past Tense
LookSaw
Past Participle
LookSeen
Example
I was just looking at this artistic piece of nature.Mary saw me at the party yesterday.

Look vs. See

Look means to direct our eyes on something or someone and pay attention to it, whereas see is defined as glancing something that comes into our sight without particular attention. Look is a voluntary action. On the other hand, see is an involuntary action.

Look is an intentional act, which means that we pay special attention to something with our will. On the other hand, see is an unintentional act, which means to notice or observe something casually without our will. We look with care and attention to full detail, whereas we see without care and attention to full detail.

When we look at something or someone, we try to see forcefully and concentrate on the object. On the flip side, we see something when an image comes before our eyes, and it may not be deliberate. Look cannot be used when we are talking about sports, matches, or public performances, which may include films, theatres, and dramas, etc. On the other hand, see can be used with sports and entertainment.

When look is used with an object, “to” is used after look, whereas when we use see with an object, “to” is not used. Look is used to state an object specifically. On the other hand, see is used to make simple statements.

Look can be used to describe an action, while see is used to manifest that experience has completed. We use look in progressive actions, but we don’t use see in progressive actions.

What is Look?

Look means to intentionally concentrate over something and pay attention to its details over time. Look is a regular verb that can be used transitively or intransitively, which means that it can convey its meaning with or without an object.

Look is not a programmed or unconscious action. Looking can be defined as a deliberate action that gives full information about the object. This verb can be used for progressive actions but generally is not used for moving things.

Types

  • Goggling: Looking with astonishment is called goggling.
  • Examining: Observing, noticing, and looking over carefully is called examining.
  • Scrutinizing: Inspecting carefully for accuracy is called scrutinizing.
  • Gazing: Constant looking for a long time is called gazing.
  • Gawking: Looking with amazement is called gawking.
  • Observing: Looking attentively is called observing.
  • Beholding: Seeing with attention is called beholding.
  • Leering: Looking suggestively and obliquely is called leering.
  • Scowling: Looking with displeasure is called scowling.
  • Ogling: Staring or looking with romantic intentions is called ogling.

Examples

  • Alina looked up as Haris entered the lounge hastily.
  • Look at this picture. Can you recognize me here?
  • I like to look at the moon at night when everyone is asleep.
  • The lovely couple just looked at each other’s eyes and smiled.
  • Ali looked around furtively to see if someone had watched him stealing the gold and the money.
  • Just look at the rain. See how heavily it’s raining.
  • I am trying to look at the tower, but I do not see anything.

What is See?

See means to observe the surrounding from eyes. An image forming in front of the eyes and noticing the scene with eyes is called seeing. It is not a gaze or an intentional act of focusing on something. It is related to the things we cannot escape.

The word “See” refers to the automatic visualizing of events. It is not as deliberate as look. See is not a regular verb. This irregular verb cannot be used for progressive tenses or moving things. “Saw” is marked as the past tense of see, whereas “Seen” is considered the past participle of see.

Types

  • Frowning: Making angry facial expressions or looking at something displeasantly is called frowning.
  • Blinking: Rapid opening and closing of eyes are called blinking.
  • Winking: Partly closing of one eye showing something as a joke is called winking.
  • Glancing: Taking a quick look at something or someone is called glancing.
  • Glimpsing: Seeing someone for a very short interval is called glimpsing.
  • Gaping: Seeing something with your mouth opened in amusement and bewilderment is called gaping.
  • Staring: Looking constantly at something or someone for a long duration is called staring.
  • Peeping: Seeing something furtively and secretively trying not to be disclosed is called peeping.
  • Peering: Looking at something carefully, which is not clear before your eyes are called peering.
  • Squinting: Looking with partly closed eyes is called squinting.

Examples

  • I can see white clouds all over the sky.
  • Did you see Ryan? I think he was waiting for you in the bar.
  • Ahmad saw her running out of her house wildly.
Conclusion

Look refers to elaborated, inspectional, and thoughtful visualization of things, whereas see refers to the unintentional, casual, and thoughtless visual perception of things. Look involves an intentional willingness, while see involves an automatic response.