Resources: Notes on Life and Language in the United States

17 Ways to Say "Look" in English

Posted by Lindsay McMahon on Mon, Aug 05, 2013 @ 01:49 PM

18 ways to say look in EnglishDo you know the difference between "glare" and "glance"? How about the difference between "look" and "see"?

To a native English speaker, these words are pretty different, but I know that this is tough for an English learner.

Today I am going to teach you 17 different ways to say "look" so check it out and start building a more nuanced English vocabulary today!


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17 Ways to Say "Look"


#1) To glare


glare, English vocabularyWhen we "glare" at someone, we are usually showing them that we are angry.

A glare usually lasts for a long time and we often have a frown or a dark look on our face.

A child might glare at his mother when she has punished him.

Sample sentence: "The kid glared at his mom when she said that he had to go to his room."




#2) To glance


We use this word when we move our head quickly to see something, but we don't focus on that thing for very long.

We might not want people to know that we are looking at something or someone so we "glance" at it, very casually and naturally without making it obvious.

Sample sentence: "I quickly glanced at the gas prices when I drove by the gas station."


#3) To see


"Seeing" is passive. Light comes into your eye when your eyes are open. Seeing is different from looking because looking is active- you actually try to see something. Learn more here

Sample sentence: "Did you see that car accident on route 12 last night?"



#4) To look


"Looking" is active. We physically make an effort to see something. We usually look quickly and for a shorter period of time. Learn more here.

Sample sentence: "Look at that guy with pink hair!"



#5) To watch


watchWhen we watch something we observe something happening in front of us.

We might watch a movie, watch a performance, or watch an argument.

We don't have to be actively involved in the thing that we are watching.

Learn more here.

Sample sentence: " Last night we watched the thunderstorm until midnight."





#6) To view


This is similar watch- you can view a presentation or a movie.

You can also view something by looking at it closely and examining it.

Sample sentence: "Before you buy a house, make sure you view it a few times."



#7) To catch a glimpse


To see something for a short time as it goes by quickly.

To barely see something.

Sample sentence: "Did you catch a glimpe of that beautiful woman who just walked by?"



#8) To spot


When you "spot" something, you find something that you might be looking for.

For example, you might spot a criminal in the crowd.

This word can be used literally or figuratively.

Sample sentence: " I was able to spot my friend in a huge crowd of more than 100 people."






#9) To stare


"Stare" is similar to glare, but it isn't necessarily a negative thing.

You might stare at someone you have a crush on. A dog stares at his owner when he's hungry.

Sample sentence: " The kids in class stared at the teacher, completely confused."



#10) To inspect


When you "inspect" something, you take an active role of examining something. You might inspect a house to decide whether or not it is safe.

You might inspect your room for bugs.

Sample sentence: "Did the police inspect your house for safety?"



#11) To gaze


You can use the word "gaze" when you are admiring something or someone.

You usually look at someone or something for a long time when you "gaze."


Sample sentence: "We gazed at the good-looking movie star all afternoon."





#12) To scan


When we look over something quickly we "scan" it.

We might scan a room in a party to see if our friend is there. A computer scans for viruses.

Sample sentence: "I scanned the room to see if Mary was there."



#13) To peer


When you "peer" at something- you look at something when you can't see it entirely because your view is obstructed.

A little kid might stand on his toes to peer out of a window.


Sample sentence: "This little kid is peering out from behind the couch to look at the camera."





#14) To witness


This word is similar to watch. It means that you saw an event.

This is often used in the field of criminal justice when we say that someone "witnessed" a crime.

Sample sentence: "I witnessed an act of kindness today at the grocery store."



#15) To make out


To be able to see something from a long distance.

You might not be able to "make out" the shore if you are sailing far out in the ocean.


Sample sentence: " I can make out the stars when I use my telescope."





#16) To eye


When we "eye" something, we are interested in that thing.

We might eye the cookies on the table even though we don't need the extra sugar.

Sample sentence: "I have been eyeing that chocolate cake all night."



#17) To examine


When we "examine" something, we inspect it closely.

A doctor might examine your body to make sure that you are healthy.

Sample sentence: "When the boy got a cut his mom examined it and then cleaned it for him."




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Photo credits: jktoo, ckaroli, katieb50, Kevin Dooley, sektordua, Trinity,

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