Difference between hearing and listening.

Hear vs Listen
Most of the time, we get confused to the difference between hearing and listening. Both words have almost same meaning and same usage. However, the differences between hearing and listening are very recondite. We can't get its meaning in one glimpse. Let us see the difference between hearing and listening.






Difference between Hear and Listen: Hearing and Listening are "ing forms" of verb Hear and Listen.

Hear (v)
  • perceive sound via the auditory sense
  • get to know or become aware of, receive a communication from someone
  • when you hear a sound, you become aware of it through your ears.
  1. Mother heard nothing from her son for five years.

Listen (V/N) (with verb always use preposition "to")
  • to pay attention to somebody or something that you can hear
  1. He spent his time listening to the radio.
  • listen for is a phrasal verb that means to be prepared to hear a particular sound
  1. We listen for cat meow.
  2. We listen for footsteps approaching.


What is the difference between Hear and Listen ?
We have known the meaning, but we still don't known when and how to use these words.
Use the word Hear when something, a sound comes into your ears naturally without making any special efforts by you.
Such as,  "I heard lion's roar coming from jungle. "
Use the word Listen, if you listen to something, you want hear it and you pay attention to what you hear.
"I am listening to some ghostly sound in the house."
Whenever you try to hear something, use the word listen to;
Whenever you don't want to listen to something or someone, and it comes to your ears without making any special effort by you, use the word hear.


Some more points on the word Hear and Listen:
The verb Hear is used only in the involuntary(not subject to the control of the will) sense, that's why hear is not used in continuous tense. You can use the word Listen in continuous tense instead. Such as, "They are hearing a play" is not right; 
You can write: "They are listening to a play."
But sometimes you see hear in continuous tense, such as, hearing evidence, hearing about something or someone; at that time the word hear has a different meaning. Let us see its usages as ing form.
According to oxford:
  • hear can be used in the continuous when it means listen formally to complaints/evidence etc.
  1. The court is hearing evidence the afternoon.
  • hear meaning receive news or letters can also be used in the continuous form but only in the present perfect and future:
  1. I've been hearing all about your accident.
  2. You'll be hearing about the new scheme at our next meeting.



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