• Easily confused words in English: Hear and Listen

    As I’m preparing to move back to the United States from Argentina and more appropriately out of the city and to a very small town, there are a few things I’m not going to miss. One of these is the noise.

    I will be glad to go to bed without hearing my neighbors and walking without hearing the sounds of traffic. I will be able to listen to the sounds of nature again, the sound of wind in the pine trees which I really miss or the sound of my skis swooshing (a soft noise) through the snow. So, I wanted to talk about these easily confused words in English: hear and listen.


    Hear (verb: past=heard) hear is a sense. You hear with your ears. It doesn’t need any thought or brain activity. Hear is passive. I heard a loud noise last night when I was sleeping.

    Hear also is to be informed by someone. I heard that she was moving back to Montana.


    Listen (verb: past=listened) Listen is active. You must use your brain as well as your ears to listen. You must make an effort to listen. (to/for)

    • I listen to music everyday.
    • I was listening for the baby.

    Read these questions, then watch the video below and see if you can answer them.

    1. What was the Hindu saying?
    2. What can your ears hear?
    3. Ears are made not for _____ing but for _______ing.
    4. Who said: “I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.”
    5. ______ing is an active skill.
    6. Whereas, _______ing is passive.
    7. Listening is something we have to _______ at.
    8. What is reductive and expensive listening?
    9. Who listens reductively?
    10. and expansively?

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