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Senses: Hearing, Part 1

A chart showing the way our bodies hear sounds. (Image)

Hello, and welcome to Mistake Monday! Last week we looked at different words related to the sense of sight, and this week we’ll examine the next sense: hearing. This is the sense that you do with your ears; it’s also referred to as “listening,” but what’s the difference between the words “hear” and “listen“? That’s a good question, and it’s actually a common error that I notice in my classes. So, here is a re-posting of one of our first Common Errors to help explain the difference:

Common Error: Confusing “listen” and “hear”
DON’T say this: I’m sorry, but I wasn’t hearing to you.
Hear! I think I listen a car coming!
Did you listen that noise just now?
WHY? Much like the difference between “watch,” “see,” and “look,” the difference between “listen” and “hear” has a lot to do with intention:

-You naturally hear things; “to hear” is to perceive sounds that reach your ears by using your sense of hearing. You normally don’t plan to hear: it’s spontaneous.

-To hear of/about something means to have knowledge related to that thing.

-If you listen, you carefully or continuously hear something. You have to pay attention to listen to something. If you have an object that follows the word “listen,” be sure to add the word “to.”

-Additionally, “listen” can be used as an interjection, but “hear” generally can’t.

INSTEAD, SAY THIS: -“Listen to this CD. It’s great!”
-“Sorry, but I didn’t hear what you said. I wasn’t listening.”
-“Have you heard about Pete? He got fired for always coming to work late!”

Many people, especially as they become older, have trouble hearing and need to use hearing aids to help them hear. (Image)
So, I hope that helps a bit. On Wednesday we’ll look at more words related to the sense of hearing. Thanks for reading, and have a great week!
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Hearing, Part 2
Sight: "I Can See Clearly Now"

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