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    #1

    See or Look?

    See , here's the street. Here comes the first police car, the second, the...
    See , here they are.
    See , here it is, " she said. " My sister's picture and everything.

    (The above sentences are taken from Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA) )

    See, what's that over there?

    Can we use Look to replace this 'See' without changing the meaning of the sentences?
    Could I ask native speakers to help me please? Thank you in advance.

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    #2

    Re: See or Look?

    Note: not a teacher.

    Yes, you may use them as they are, but I find that there is a slight difference in meaning by changing to look.

    In my opinion, if you use the word "see" it means that the speaker and the person spoken to are physically very close. They might be standing at a window, looking out toward the street. If you change to look, I think the person spoken to, might be in another part of the room and needs to come to the window.

    The same idea applies to the other sentences.

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    #3

    Re: See or Look?

    Quote Originally Posted by Searching for language View Post
    Note: not a teacher.

    Yes, you may use them as they are, but I find that there is a slight difference in meaning by changing to look.

    In my opinion, if you use the word "see" it means that the speaker and the person spoken to are physically very close. They might be standing at a window, looking out toward the street. If you change to look, I think the person spoken to, might be in another part of the room and needs to come to the window.

    The same idea applies to the other sentences.
    I feel that Searching for language has given a good explanation. Do you native speakers agree with him? Thank you again.
    Last edited by joham; 07-Dec-2008 at 00:10. Reason: Misspelling.

  1. Raymott's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: See or Look?

    Quote Originally Posted by joham View Post
    I feel that Searching for language has given a good explanation. Do you native speakers agree with him? Thank you again.
    Yes.
    "Look" is more common.

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    #5

    Re: See or Look?

    "look" expresses an action, while "see" expresses a result. (similar to 'listen' and 'hear')
    Being an action word, "look" is frequently used as a command or request.

    You can look but not see. I am looking where you are pointing but I don't see what you see.
    On the other hand, you can see without looking, as in seeing something out of the corner of your eye.

    I am not convinced about whether two people are close together is important in deciding which word to use. (although there might be some examples of that being so)
    Come here and look at the rainbow.
    Come here and see the rainbow.

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    #6

    Re: See or Look?

    Quote Originally Posted by 2006 View Post
    "look" expresses an action, while "see" expresses a result. (similar to 'listen' and 'hear')
    Being an action word, "look" is frequently used as a command or request.
    ...

    Quote Originally Posted by 2006 View Post
    ...
    I am not convinced about whether two people are close together is important in deciding which word to use. (although there might be some examples of that being so)
    Come here and look at the rainbow.
    Come here and see the rainbow.
    It's implicit in the distinction you've made. If the person spoken to isn't by the window, s/he has to move before being in a position to see.

    In the case of your example sentences, the "and" in the second one seems to me to be substituting (rather inaccurately) for words such as "to a position where you can".

    b

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    #7

    Re: See or Look?

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post


    It's implicit in the distinction you've made. If the person spoken to isn't by the window, s/he has to move before being in a position to see.

    In the case of your example sentences, the "and" in the second one seems to me to be substituting (rather inaccurately) for words such as "to a position where you can".

    b
    But if I correctly understand what you are saying, there is still no positional distinction between "look" and "see".


    The person not by the window, depending on what (s)he wants to (look at)(see), may be able to do both from where (s)he is or may have to move to the window to do either one.

    The "and" in both of my sentences implies 'in order to be able to (better) look/see'.

    Am I missing something?

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    #8

    Re: See or Look?

    See , here's the street. Here comes the first police car, the second, the...
    See , here they are.
    See , here it is, " she said. " My sister's picture and everything.


    ...and the question is about how using 'Look' in place of 'See" affects the meanings, right?

    'To see' is essentially passive. It's what happens when most people open their eyes. It requires no willingness or effort.
    'To look' is an action requiring willingness and effort.
    There is no 'positional distinction' involved.

    The only difference I can perceive is that, "'Look, here it is," she said,' and "See , here it is," she said,' is that the former is slightly more of a command, since it requests the hearer to perform an act of volition.

    If I'm missing the point, just disregard my post!

    Petra

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    #9

    Re: See or Look?

    Quote Originally Posted by pyoung View Post
    See , here's the street. Here comes the first police car, the second, the...
    See , here they are.
    See , here it is, " she said. " My sister's picture and everything.

    ...and the question is about how using 'Look' in place of 'See" affects the meanings, right?

    'To see' is essentially passive. It's what happens when most people open their eyes. It requires no willingness or effort.
    'To look' is an action requiring willingness and effort.
    There is no 'positional distinction' involved.

    The only difference I can perceive is that, "'Look, here it is," she said,' and "See , here it is," she said,' is that the former is slightly more of a command, since it requests the hearer to perform an act of volition.

    If I'm missing the point, just disregard my post!

    Petra
    Then,does 'See, here it is.' mean 'Can you see, here it is?' ?
    Thank you all again.

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    #10

    Re: See or Look?

    see----have you seen
    look-----have a look
    Do them mean those?

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