See Look Watch

Vocabulary | Confusables | Phrasal Verbs


Did you know that there are over 600,000 words in English? That's a lot of words, and far more than any human being could ever manage to learn. Even Shakespeare only used around 55,000 different words in all of his works. Mind you, he did actually invent quite a few of them. To get a good mastery of English, you do need to expand your vocabulary as much as possible. The more words you know, the better your English will be. The Activities here will help you to quickly develop your vocabulary.


Certain words in English are so alike that they confuse even native English speakers. Words like their and there for instance are often confused. The Activities here look in detail at some of the most common confusable words and give you plenty of explanation into how to use them correctly as well as plenty of exercises to help you avoid making mistakes in the future. 

Phrasal Verbs

Phrasal verbs are like idioms and have to be learnt individually. They are an essential part of your English vocabulary, and without them you will not be able to say that you have any degree of fluency in English. These Activities have been designed to make learning, remembering, and using phrasal verbs as easy and enjoyable as possible. English speakers use phrasal verbs all the time, so you need to at least be able to understand what they mean. Use them yourself and you will sound much more like a native speaker and your English will sound much more natural.

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Learn to use the verbs, see, look, and watch, with this English Activation Pack. The three English verbs, see, look, and watch, are frustrating for many of my students. I think this is because they all seem very similar and are to do with the eyes. This English Activation Pack will help you see how the three verbs differ in meaning. We will look at ways for you to learn, remember, and use these different verbs correctly. All you have to do is sit back and watch the theory part of my English Activation Pack in the video above.

We see, look, and watch because we have eyes, but seeing, looking, and watching are not all the same. Our eyes take in light from the world around us. That light is focussed on the back of the eye and signals are sent to the brain. The signals are converted into images in the brain, though nobody knows quite how this happens. We then perceive the world around us through our eyes. This is called seeing. We see because we have eyes. As I said, we see because we have eyes. Eyes take in light from the world around us and there is no way to stop this happening, except to cover the eyes with a light-proof cover. If you open your eyes, and there is nothing to get in the way of the light, you see the world around you. This is a natural process which happens because we have eyes. I can see many things around me at the moment, but I am only looking at the screen in front of me. I can see many things around me, but I am only looking at what I am writing on the screen. This is the essential difference between see and look. You see things because you have eyes. As soon as you open your eyes, you see things, because you have eyes. You look at things you are interested in and focus on. I am looking at what I am writing, though I can see many other things in front of me. I am only focussed on what is important to me, and I am only looking at that. So, we see because we have eyes, and we look at what we are interested in. That’s fairly straight forward, isn’t it? But what about watching. Well, I am looking at the screen, because I am interested in what I am writing, not on everything else around me. Yet, as I type, I am watching the cursor on the screen and checking to see that what I am writing is correct. I am watching my writing because it is changing and moving, and we watch things that are in a state of change. Let me explain with some examples of how we use see, look, and watch. A. What is that thing up there in the sky? B. I can’t see anything! Where is it? A. It’s up there just in front of the moon. Can you see it? B. Oh, yes! I can see it now. I think it’s a plane, not an alien spaceship, unfortunately. In this exchange we are talking about the ability of our eyes to see an object in the sky. We see the object because we open our eyes and point them in the direction of the object. If enough light comes from the object to our eyes, we will see the object. The verb see is an irregular English verb. This means that we do not add -ed to form the past. The past tense of see is saw. I saw a program about elephants last night. The past participle of see is seen. I have seen things you would not believe. The present participle of see is seeing. (All present participles use the -ing form) As see is a stative verb, we don’t usually use the continuous aspect. You see because you have eyes. You don’t choose to see, although you can choose to ignore what you see. Because you don’t choose to see, see is a state. A state means that something exists regardless of our desire for it to exist. Stative verbs do not normally take the continuous aspect, as it describes something which is happening over time – an action, not a state. Look is an action. You have to choose to look at the thing you saw with your eyes. Watch is an action. You have to choose to watch the thing that is moving in front of your eyes. See is a stative verb and cannot normally take the continuous aspect. However, if we are in a relationship with someone, we can say that we are seeing them. I think Jane is seeing Mark. I know that Caroline was seeing Roger before we divorced. If we have an appointment to see a professional such as a doctor, or a lawyer, we can also use the continuous aspect of see. I’m seeing the doctor this afternoon at four. I was supposed to be seeing the lawyer today, but I cancelled the appointment. Children will often see how far they can push the boundaries. Let’s see how far we can push them before they snap. Little Johnny is seeing how far he can push his parents. The expressions seeing as and seeing that are used as conjunctions. They mean the same as since, because and as. She is going to clean the warehouse, seeing as it’s her job. You should make them pay for it, seeing that they caused the damage. Some verbs in English depend on certain prepositions to be used correctly. The verb look, as in when you use your eyes, is one such verb, and its dependent preposition is at. When look has an object, we must always use the preposition at. Just look at this place. It’s amazing! She’s looking at the clear blue water. Look at me when I’m speaking to you. When we search for something, we look for it. Look for is a phrasal verb which means to search for something. He’s been looking for a new job for several months now. You need to look for a new job. I have been looking for a new job for a while now. To look up to someone is to admire them and to treat them as a role model. She really looked up to firemen when she was young, and when she saw a chance to join the service, she jumped at the chance. She has never looked back since. When you are desperate to finish something, like your day in the office, you will be constantly watching the clock to see how long you have left. Someone who watches the clock is known as a clock-watcher and is determined not to work a moment longer than they have to. You would be better off getting on with your job than watching the clock all afternoon. Clock-watchers are not good employees. I hope that you are enjoying this English Activation Pack and are not tempted to watch the clock. When you say that something is like watching paint dry, you are saying that it is very boring. I hope that this English Activation Pack is not like watching paint dry. I am sure it is not, seeing that I go to great lengths to make these packs as interesting and entertaining as possible. 

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