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    #1

    look at (the) TV

    1. He smoked while he read, while he looked at the television, and while he drank a cup of coffee.
    2. When George arrived home, his sister was looking at TV.

    Do [look at (the) TV] and [watch (the) TV] have the same meaning?

  1. #2

    Re: look at (the) TV

    (Not a teacher)

    If you say, "I'm looking at THE television, many would interpret that to mean you are looking at the television set itself, not what is showing on it. The interpretation would depend on the situation.

    "Looking at television" and "watching television" are widely used to mean the same thing. I prefer "watching;" somehow "looking" suggests you are looking at it but not paying much attention.

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    #3

    Re: look at (the) TV

    TV is both a piece of furniture and a medium of entertainment. The article distinguishes which you mean.

    You look at the TV as furniture, you look at TV as entertainment.

    Your first example, to me then, is wrong. It suggests he was staring blandly at the box without paying any attention to whether it was even turned on. I don't think that was the intent of the writer, so I would leave out the "the" there.

    Actually, I would change the whole clause to be more balanced, or poetic:

    He smoked while he read, while he watched television, and while he drank coffee.

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    #4

    Re: look at (the) TV

    Sorry Greg - wasn't contradicting - simultaneous responses!

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    #5

    Re: look at (the) TV

    Did you see the boat race on (the) television?
    Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary of Current English, 1974

    What's on (the) TV this evening?
    There's an interesting play on (the) television.
    A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language, 1985

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    #6

    Re: look at (the) TV

    Quote Originally Posted by sitifan View Post
    Did you see the boat race on (the) television?
    Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary of Current English, 1974

    What's on (the) TV this evening?
    There's an interesting play on (the) television.
    A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language, 1985
    The television is sometimes in reference to an institution of human society.
    Television relates to a medium of entertainment or the programs.
    hope it helps
    not a teacher.
    Last edited by norwolf; 28-Nov-2008 at 07:56.

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    #7

    Re: look at (the) TV

    Quote Originally Posted by sitifan View Post
    Did you see the boat race on (the) television?
    Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary of Current English, 1974

    What's on (the) TV this evening?
    There's an interesting play on (the) television.
    A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language, 1985
    None of these examples require the "the" - in fact, its use is quite awkward.
    Interestingly, however, the "What's on (the) TV this evening" - if you substitute a slang word for TV (Tube), you need the article. What's on the tube? But then, as you can see, the tube refers to the (ancient, former) technical aspect of the item, the cathode ray tube that was inside the box. That's why when we say "the" television, we tend to be thinking of the box, rather than the medium.

    "Here, darling, go put this vase on the television."
    "Turn off the TV and come to dinner."
    "You spend too much time watching TV."

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