Listen v hear


I am surprised at how often I hear mistakes with "listen".

Or is it listen to mistakes with "hear"? :-)


What's the difference?

Listening is an intentional activity - you make an effort / pay attention. (It is often followed by to)
  • What kind of music do you listen to?
  • Don't listen to her. She doesn't know what she's talking about.
  • Listen, I think you need a holiday. It'll do you good.
  • Sorry - I wasn't listening. My mind is elsewhere.
You can hear something even when you don't want to hear it.
  • He heard a strange noise so he went outside to see what it was.
  • Can you turn it up? I can't hear what they are saying.
  • My grandad can't hear very well.

  • Listen! Did you hear that?
  • No. I can't hear anything.
  • Listen! There's that noise again. What is it?

There are a few cases where listen and hear are interchangeable.
  • I heard a really interesting programme on the radio the other day.
  • We heard them live in concert.

Pronunciation: /ˈlɪs.ən/ /ˈlɪs.ənz/ /ˈlɪs.ənd/ /hɪər/ /hɪərz/ /hɜːd/

Idiom: You can say someone is as deaf as a post if they don't hear very well.

Listen to 6 minute English about ear worms.





Comments

Anonymous said…
Hi Graham!

I've listened this "6 minutes English". I agree with it. When a song sticks in your head all day is annoying and irritating, due to the song usually is awful. For this reason, only there are a piece of classical music that can repeat in your head all day, it isn´t awful, but is very repetitive, the Bolero of Ravel

Hilde
Graham said…
Hi Hilde!

I "suffered" an ear worm from Sunday to Monday. I started watching "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" on Sunday morning and I was humming some of the tunes for the next 24 hours.


I've listened to "6 minute English".
I agree with it. When a song sticks in your head all day, it is annoying and irritating, usually due to the song being awful.
For this reason, there is only one piece of classical music that can repeat in your head all day, it isn´t awful, but it is very repetitive, Ravel's Bolero.

It's true. I find Bolero incredibly annoying.

Marta Gorron said…
Hi Graham, I´m Marta !

I've read your post about hear and listen, and I´ve listened the audio.
I agree with it because ear worms is something that happened me very often. Normally, I hate it because you can have the song in your head a few hours, but if the song stay in your head for a longer is a little bit dull.
As the girl said in the audio, the song unbidden your head, is it not invited.
Graham said…
Hi Marta,

It's Graham. (Don't use "I'm" unless you are introducing yourself for the first time)


I've read your post about hear and listen, and I´ve listened to the audio.

I agree with it because ear worms is something that happens to me very often. Normally, I hate it because you can have the song in your head a few hours, but if the song stay in your head any longer, it gets a little bit dull.

As the girl said in the audio, the song unbidden your head, is it not invited. ??? I'm not sure what you mean here.