Common Errors in English: Listen / Hear

Don’t say: “I listened a great new song on the radio.”

Say: “I heard a great new on the radio.”

There are two differences between listen and hear:

Listen is often a prolonged action, but hear is just one moment in time:

  • While I was listening to the news, I heard that there was a plane crash outside the city.
    (“listening to news” = continuous action, “heard that” = one specific moment)

Listen is often intentional, but hear is often unintentional.

  • After I heard a loud noise downstairs, I listened carefully to see if a robber had entered the house.
    (“heard a loud noise” = without trying; “listened carefully” = trying)

Listen is always followed by to. Don’t use “to” after hear.

  • I’m listening to a podcast.
  • I can’t hear the TV. Turn the volume up.

Clear up your doubts about confusing words… and use English more confidently!

600+ Confusing English Words Explained

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