Hear vs. Listen
What is the difference?
are two commonly
in the English
language. When do you use each one?
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These words both talk about using our ears! They can be applied to same
things (music, a conversation, etc.), but they have different meanings.
We'll look at explanations about what each word means and review some
to see how each one works.
that means to sense a sound with our ears.
When we hear
something, it is by chance. This means we are not actively paying
attention or waiting for the sound.
This poor cat didn't
expect the girl's scream, but he heard
Remember that hear
is an irregular
in the simple past: heard
think I heard
someone laughing in the apartment next door.
- He wasn't
expecting laughter, but the sound reached his ears.
- You will hear
native speakers use lots of contractions like "can't" or "didn't."
- You are
not specifically expecting or waiting for these words, but people will
- I heard
a really interesting news story on the radio this morning.
- You did
not expect exactly that story, but they told it.
- Did you hear
the circus is coming to town?
- You did
not ask about a circus, but the news reached you.
- You called earlier? I heard
the telephone ring, but I didn't answer in time.
wasn't waiting for the telephone to ring, but the sound reached her
is a verb
means to give your attention to a sound. When we listen, we are
actively concentrating on the sound.
We can listen to
a sound (a song, a speech) that is in progress.
This is the most common way we use listen.
Or, we can listen for
a sound that we are expecting. This means we are quietly waiting for
- Please listen
tour guide very carefully.
speaker wants you to concentrate on what the guide says.
- She likes to listen
to the radio while she is at work.
likes to turn on the radio and pay attention to the music while she
- After this recording ends, listen for the beep.
Then leave a message.
should wait quietly, expecting the beep.
- We will honk the car horn when we arrive at your building.
Just listen for the
horn and come down to meet us.
should expect the car horn.
- It's easier to run if you're listening to some
- You put
on the music that you like best for exercise and pay attention to it
while you run.
Remember that we hear
things by chance, when we are not expecting them.
The post woman heard
the dog bark. She wasn't expecting that!
But, when we listen to
we are concentrating on it.
The doctor is listening
the boy's heart!
These were the
differences between hear
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