Which should we use: ‘Hear’ or ‘Listen’?
‘To Hear’ is an involuntary action, whilst ‘To Listen’ is a deliberate action…
‘Hear’ is something you do without trying. You HEAR with your EARS. So, unless you have a hearing problem (e.g. if you are deaf), you will ‘hear’ something simply because it is making a noise.
‘Listen’ is an action that you decide on, when you specifically need to hear a certain sound. You make an effort to ‘listen’ TO something or someone. (Remember, to use the preposition TO after the verb ‘to listen’)
Q: Can you hear someone with a very quiet voice?
A: Only if you listen to them carefully.
- Write down everything that you can hear without trying: the birds, the wind, the traffic, children playing in the street, the sound of a clock ticking, etc.
- Write a list of the things that you like to listen to: music on the radio, the television, people talking to you, your language lessons, etc.
- Write out several sentences using ‘to Hear’ and ‘to Listen to’.
Some Hear and Listen examples:
|In the country, you can hear birds singing in the early morning.|
|You can hear a clock ticking during the night.|
|Can you speak a little louder please, I can’t hear you very well.|
|If you stop talking and listen TO me, you will understand what I am saying.|
|If you listen carefully TO the wind, you can hear it blowing through the trees.|
|I enjoy listening TO the sound of music on the radio.|
Fill in the blank spaces with the correct form of the verbs ‘Hear’ or ‘Listen to’.
These sentences may use one only, either of them, or both.
- Can you that __________ that man shouting at his children?
- I can __________ a loud noise coming from the kitchen.
- Do you enjoy __________ classical music?
- Will you please speak a little louder, I can’t __________ you very well.
- If you __________ carefully , you can __________ the birds singing.
- Now __________ me, because I’m only going to say this once!
- I didn’t __________ the telephone because I was watching TV.
- If you __________ my pronunciation, you will learn well.
- Did you __________ about Mary’s new job?
- You never __________ me when I’m talking to you.
- Did you __________ the news yet today?
- He was talking so quietly, you couldn’t __________ what he said.
- We can __________ the traffic on the road outside.
- When the teacher speaks, the students __________ him.
- Although I could __________ him singing, I didn’t really __________ the words.