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    #1

    listen to

    Why do we say 'listen to' music and not just 'listen' music?

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    #2

    Re: listen to

    because it's also possible to say 'listen for music'

    So if you just say 'listen music', we won't know what you mean.

    We can also say things like 'listen (to)(for) the sound of running water'.

  1. engee30's Avatar
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    #3

    Question Re: listen to

    Quote Originally Posted by 2006 View Post
    because it's also possible to say 'listen for music'
    2006, did you mean listen out for music?


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    #4

    Re: listen to

    Quote Originally Posted by Vineeta Prasad View Post
    Why do we say 'listen to' music and not just 'listen' music?
    Because it thus became idiomatic. There is no rhyme or reason to how prepositional verbs choose their particles.

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    #5

    Re: listen to

    Quote Originally Posted by engee30 View Post
    2006, did you mean listen out for music?
    You don't need "out". It's similar to saying 'be alert for'.
    "listen for" means keep your ears alert for that sound so that you can
    more readily hear it if that sound presents itself.


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    #6

    Re: listen to

    What I wanted to ask was, 'Is there a particular, grammatical rule that determines the use of 'to' after 'listen'? How do I explain the use of this preposition to a student for instance?


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    #7

    Re: listen to

    "Listen! Do you hear it?"

    'listen' basically means, 'pay attention with your ears' as opposed to "Look! Do you see it?" - 'pay attention with your eyes'.
    'to' is not necessary from the speaker's point of view, because it is so obvious, if they just used their ears and were (1) receptive to some sound
    other than their conversation, and (2) a sound that predominates over other sounds around them....but, if necessary, once the other person is orientated to the sounds around them, the speaker will further orientate as to the particular sound.

    With "Listen, and hear me"* : 'and hear me' takes the place of 'to' in directing attention to the source - obviously, the speaker. The speaker could have said, "Listen to me"; but it would not have quite the same imperative meaning that 'and hear me' imparts.

    With "Look at the sunset", the preposition 'at' again directs the other person to something specific in all that is around them.

    * from West Side Story
    Last edited by David L.; 13-May-2009 at 10:09.

  2. konungursvia's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: listen to

    One way to answer is that the verb listen takes an indirect object.

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