Monday, April 2, 2007

Listen or Hear?

Listen up! I have something important to say.
Can you hear me? Should I speak louder?
Are you listening to the teacher or working on something else?

What exactly is the difference between listen and hear? Why can’t you say “Can you listen me?” or “Are you hearing the teacher?” Unfortunately, in English these two verbs are not the same.

listen –
If you deliberately try to hear something, use listen.

Listen! There’s that strange noise again.
I was listening to music when the phone rang.
I love listening to my teacher – he is an amazing speaker.

– If you receive or become aware of a sound, use hear.

Do you hear that noise?
Suddenly, I heard a scream come from inside the room.


Complete the sentences below with hear or listen.

1. Do you _____________ that? The baby’s crying again.

2. _____________! Can you _____________ a car engine?

3. Yesterday I _____________ that you are moving to Beijing next month. Is it true?

4. She _____________ to what the doctor said, but didn’t take his advice.

5. A. “Are you _____________? I’m speaking to you!”

B: “I’m trying to, but I can’t _____________ you! Talk louder.”

Note: You listen to something or someone.

Now check your answers:

1. hear

2. Listen / hear

3. heard

4. listened

5. listening / hear

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