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Hello there. Does anybody know the difference between "to see" and "to watch" and how to use them?Thank you.
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To see is so simple that any explanation is more complicated than the word itself, e.g., to have information communicated to your brain via your eyes. To watch means to deliberately focus your visual attention on something. If you see the television, you simply detect, using your eyes, that there is a television there. If you watch it, then you are directing your eyes and at least a bit of your mind towards the programming.

There is another, more abstract sense of "watch" that means to have one's actions followed with suspicion, as in "the police are watching your activities." In this case, other senses besides the visual might be used, such as telephone taps.

Similarly, the broad, abstract sense of "to see" means "to understand," as in, "I see what you mean."
Would you then say spies watch rather than see? Do you see what I mean? Because I don't see what you mean by "In this case, other senses besides the visual might be used, such as telephone taps". Emotion: tongue tied
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Eventually I think you'll run across this non-literal version of "to watch," for example when someone in a movie says, "I feel like my every move is being watched by the government." This doesn't literally mean that eyes are being used. A near-synonym of this is "to monitor." Spies, of course, also have their own verb, "to spy (on)."

Sorry for delayed answer, Maj, I went on vacation.
Thank you so much for your post. Lucky you! did you watch, spy or monitor sth on your vacation?
Are you familiar with "listen" and "hear"?

Their relationship is similar. You listen when you are trying or hoping to hear something. You WATCH when you are trying or hoping to SEE something.

As the other poster has pointed out, "watch" implies that you are paying attention. You would only watch things that interest you. "See" is more neutral. It just means to perceive something with your eyes. You could see something accidentally, but you can never watch anything accidentally, as it requires conscious effort.

I would say "watch" also implies a longer time period. You could "see" something for just a split second, but "watch" means to keep your eye on it for a while (seconds, minutes, maybe even days, in the example of police "watching" a house!)
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Thank you for your absolutely marvellous explanation.
Maj, I was often walking with my dog, so what we were doing, as far as I can tell, was monitoring.
I don't understand. "Monitoring" does not mean: "Walking with my dog".

Additionally, you have to monitor SOMETHING (e.g. a situation). You can't just "monitor". So going out for a walk, looking at things in general, would be neither watching nor monitoring.

If you were a security guard, on patrol with your dog, THEN you might be said to be watching or monitoring (i.e. the building).
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