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watch a movie or see a movie Options
robjen
Posted: Thursday, January 28, 2016 10:01:59 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 2/17/2015
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A long time ago, my ESL teacher said that you had to say:

(1) to see a movie

(2) to see a play

(3) to watch TV

(4) to watch DVDs

(5) to watch videoes

Sometimes, I hear people say,"They are going to watch a movie."


When do you watch a movie and when do you see a movie? Please explain it. Thanks.
mactoria
Posted: Friday, January 29, 2016 12:58:55 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 8/13/2014
Posts: 451
Neurons: 849,163
Location: Stockton, California, United States
robjen wrote:
A long time ago, my ESL teacher said that you had to say:

(1) to see a movie

(2) to see a play

(3) to watch TV

(4) to watch DVDs

(5) to watch videoes

Sometimes, I hear people say,"They are going to watch a movie."


When do you watch a movie and when do you see a movie? Please explain it. Thanks.



Robjen: I gather your ESL teacher used the definitional guidelines that are found in several websites you can find if you 'google' "watch vs see" though it's not clear that there is or should be any difference between "seeing a movie" versus "watching a DVD of a movie" as used in your 5 sample phrases. The Free Dictionary (TFD) indicates one should use "see" to convey that you've looked at something briefly or in passing, while "watching" is meant to convey a length of time spent in the specific action of seeing/looking at something.

To give you an answer to your question using the TFD definitions: You "watch a movie" when you sit down and follow the action of the movie for a period of time. "Seeing a movie" would be noticing that a movie was on TV last night, whether you sat down and watched it or not, more of a passive awareness that a movie was on TV. This is really more technical than most people (Americans at least) would be in choosing the correct verb for what are very similar actions.

In reality, at least in the western US where I live, we use "see" and "watch" in this kind of context interchangeably. We "see a movie" and we also "watch a movie" whether we are at home using the TV, running a DVD of a recorded movie, or sitting in a theater. I'm not aware of any particular lessons in school on precise usage of these words for this kind of context.

Others may well have different answers to your question, depending on their country of origin or region of a country.
sureshot
Posted: Friday, January 29, 2016 3:37:42 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/16/2015
Posts: 1,819
Neurons: 337,878
robjen wrote:
A long time ago, my ESL teacher said that you had to say:

(1) to see a movie (2) to see a play (3) to watch TV (4) to watch DVDs (5) to watch videoes

Sometimes, I hear people say,"They are going to watch a movie."
When do you watch a movie and when do you see a movie? Please explain it. Thanks.

___________________________________

The verb "see" conveys the sense of going to a movie hall or theatre ("theater" in American English) and watching a movie, play etc. The verb 'watch' is usually used to convey the sense that the DVD/Video/TV etc is being watched in a home environment.

However, you will find people using both the verbs "see" and "watch" in American English and also in British English. In the case of movies and plays, the use of verb "see" is more common. In the case of DVD/Video/TV, the use of "watch" is usually used in both American and British English. You will find a few people using "see" when mentioning TV/DVD/Video.

I am sure you will get more inputs from others also.

Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Friday, January 29, 2016 6:06:23 AM

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Joined: 9/12/2011
Posts: 26,452
Neurons: 141,825
Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
I agree with the others here, mainly.

Technically, there is a difference, and for some things it is important, but concerning films or 'movies' both verbs are used.

Concerning DVDs, it is better to use 'watch'.
If you see a DVD, you see a small circular piece of plastic.


Generally the difference is that "watch" is very deliberate and active, "see" is something which happens without intention.

You do not have to take notice of something you see, it is not something you have your attention on, it is just in front of your eyes - maybe for only a second.
If you watch something, you put attention on it for some time.

Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
foolofgrace
Posted: Friday, January 29, 2016 9:16:23 AM

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Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States
I agree in general with most of the responses. However, things that are defined in a dictionary (and dictionaries do not always agree) can be different from actual usage among the general population.

To "see" something does often mean that you have noticed something. But in usage among everyone I've ever known, if you say you've "seen" a movie it means that you've had it in front of your attention for the entire length; for example, someone in your house is watching it on TV and you're doing embroidery and not really paying attention. You've seen it but not actually watched it. To "see" a movie is much more than merely noticing that it is going to be broadcast. In that case, you would say you've seen that it was going to be on (broadcast).
playbrain
Posted: Thursday, October 20, 2016 1:58:47 AM
Rank: Newbie

Joined: 10/20/2016
Posts: 2
Neurons: 26
Location: Elizabeth, New Jersey, United States
Look = look, look at, check out (i.e. look that girl out there.) (Looks like the bride of Antonio, yes?)

See = see, watch (i.e. Already we see the TV, and then I want to go see the new movie called avatar. Do these bass?)

Forgive the lack of writing, since I'm so lazy and my laptop has a keyboard in another language.

Hope that helps, brother.

English language learners have a great advantage over other language students: Hollywood is in the United States, and produces films in English. So if you know English and you like the movies, do not watch movies in English? You can you have fun, and at the same time, learn much English.

Recently discovered an application to watch free movies on my phone and on my iphone (in this latter sometimes doesn't work).
The app Play view is the name of the application, is free and also contains series, dramas, music videos, etc. Playview apk wasn't available at the Google store but searching can be found so that you can install it on your computer or mobile device. It really cool.

Remember that watch movies online always helps to relax and learn new things through documentaries on history and motivation. So it properly can be to see films from home.

I hope has provided my grain of sand. Warm and grateful greetings.
MaksFesem
Posted: Wednesday, August 09, 2017 6:44:11 PM

Rank: Newbie

Joined: 8/9/2017
Posts: 3
Neurons: 11
Watching more and more interesting films. Maybe with subtitles for better to know. I don't know in this films viooz are has subtitles or no.
TMe
Posted: Thursday, August 10, 2017 12:54:53 PM

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Joined: 1/12/2017
Posts: 413
Neurons: 2,634
Whatever ...is correct, except what is there in AE and BE.Brick wall Brick wall Brick wall

Experts will debate.

I am a layman.
Romany
Posted: Thursday, August 10, 2017 12:56:46 PM
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Joined: 6/14/2009
Posts: 12,368
Neurons: 37,643
Location: Brighton, England, United Kingdom

I agree with the consensus: there is a slight semantic difference *lexicographyly, but in usage they're interchangeable.

Except that - we do tend to say "Have you watched that movie yet?" when we mean at home on one's own media; and "Have you seen that movie yet?" when we mean at the cinema. Or at least in BE.

*my spellcheck is having a hissy-fit over this one!
TMe
Posted: Thursday, August 10, 2017 12:58:33 PM

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Joined: 1/12/2017
Posts: 413
Neurons: 2,634
Didn't I say, about AE and BE.

Thanks Romany, I agree.

I am a layman.
Romany
Posted: Thursday, August 10, 2017 1:16:47 PM
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Joined: 6/14/2009
Posts: 12,368
Neurons: 37,643
Location: Brighton, England, United Kingdom

TMe -

I don't quite understand you? You seem to be objecting to the fact that we point out the differences between AE and BE - and other English variants?

OK, so that is what I *think* you mean and that's what I am making this reply about.

It's because many of the students on this forum are sitting for exams and qualifications in English. They pay a LOT of money for this. They will be tested in either British English or American English. If they mix the two up they will lose marks and might even fail their tests.

Others are doing business with Western countries: they need to know that there are ways of saying things, or even words we use, that mean very different things in AE and BE. They don't want to cause offence and risk losing business.

To the average people on the street it's not important. But this is a dictionary site, where people come to learn things. So, to many of the people here, it's very, very important.

That is the reason we discuss it so much.
Wilmar (USA)
Posted: Thursday, August 10, 2017 4:36:34 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/4/2015
Posts: 606
Neurons: 122,921
Location: Vinton, Iowa, United States
Maybe someone has already pointed this out, if so, thanks.
The difference is this: You see a movie when you go to the movie theater. You watch a movie when you play the recording of the movie at home and view it there. Or, that is the common distinction in the US. Though, the reverse is not terribly incorrect -- just not "habit".
Sarrriesfan
Posted: Friday, August 11, 2017 2:35:43 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/30/2016
Posts: 626
Neurons: 4,063
Location: Luton, England, United Kingdom
Romany wrote:

I agree with the consensus: there is a slight semantic difference *lexicographyly, but in usage they're interchangeable.

Except that - we do tend to say "Have you watched that movie yet?" when we mean at home on one's own media; and "Have you seen that movie yet?" when we mean at the cinema. Or at least in BE.

*my spellcheck is having a hissy-fit over this one!


I would agree, I think it's related to the idea of going to see a film or play requiring effort, dressing up, traveling to the venue and buying a ticket. Watching a film at home just requires a TV.

I lack the imagination for a witty signature.
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