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Dr Grammar

watch, read, see

Posted by mable_lee97   25 Oct 2014 12 17 am

Hi Alex,

I looked it up from Macmillan Dictionary. It is mention, "Did you watch the news last night?" I have doubt. Is it correct to use verb "read" instead?

Also, I have learnt to say, "see movie" but I looked it up from dictionary. It is also mention "watch movie. Why?

eg. Do you want to watch movie tonight? It is not say, "see movie" instead. Why?



Posted by mable_lee97   25 Oct 2014 12 44 am

Hi Alex,

Add more one point, most people say, "Have you seen the latest 3D Titian movie?". It is impossible to use "Have you watched .........." instead. I guess a sound is unnatural, so we just use " have seen", right?


Posted by alex stringer   3 Nov 2014 7 07 am

Hi Mabel

Apologies for the delay in replying.

This is a tricky point. Often see and watch are the same.

I think that watch emphasizes the action of watching - i.e. sitting down and looking at a screen for a period of time, while see suggests taking in information.

In other words if you say you watched TV last night, we get the idea you sat on the sofa for a few hours looking at the TV screen.

If you say, I've seen Batman 3, we understand that you know that movie.

English club suggests that see is used for public performances (e.g. cinema), while watch is used when you watch TV or a DVD at home.

These seem natural to me:

‘Have you seen Outbreak?’ (Definitely not watch)
‘Yes, I saw it last year.’

‘Shall we go and see Sean of the Dead?’
‘I’ve seen it before.’

We went to see Sherlock Holmes (cinema)
Do you want to go and see / watch a film this weekend?
We saw / watched a good film on TV last night.
She’s watching TV / She watches TV every evening. (Definitely not see)
I want to watch the news at 7.30.


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