Hear or listen to?

Posted by Manjusha; You are here: Home > Practical English Usage > Hear or Listen to

Hear means become aware of sound through the ears. It is the ordinary word to say that something comes to our ears.

Listen to

Listen (to) is used to talk about paying attention to sounds one hears. It emphasizes the idea of concentrating. Note that you can hear something without wanting to, but you can only listen to something deliberately.

Compare:

Other differences

Note that listen to is mostly used to talk about experiences that are going on, in progress.

To talk about experiencing the whole of a performance, speech, piece of music or broadcast, we generally use hear.

Listen and listen to

When there is no object, listen is used.

See Also

Had better
Half
...hardly ...when/before ...
Help
Has been
Have or have got
Have vs Having
Hear and listen
Help
He, she or they
Home
Hope
How and what like?
However, yet, still, though
How ever and however

Search the Dictionary of Practical English Usage

A    |     B    |     C    |     D    |     E    |     F    |     G    |     H    |     I    |     

J    |     K    |     L    |     M    |     N    |     O    |     P    |     Q    |     R    |     

S    |     T    |     U    |     V    |     W    |     X    |     Y    |     Z

Show Full Index