Difference Between Looking and Seeing (With Table)

The term looking and seeing refers to a glance at something or someone that is initiated by a person. People often get confused with these two terms as they have almost similar things between them but the meanings are different from each other. People mainly get confused and hence we have discussed the differences between both the terms. The terms are used to explain different scenarios.

Looking vs Seeing

The main difference between looking and seeing is its meaning that stands different from each other. Looking is the intentional attempt of catching a glance of someone or something, without any hesitation. On the other hand, seeing is the unintentional attempt of catching a glimpse of something, and hence it is often hesitated by the person.

Looking is the intentional attempt of catching a glance of someone or something, without any hesitation. Therefore, the person purposely wants to have a sight of the other person or thing. Looking is termed to be a verb. Hence, it symbolizes the action of a person who wants to have an interest for the opposite purpose.

Seeing is the unintentional attempt of catching a glimpse of something, and hence it is often hesitated by the person. Therefore, the person does not purposely want to have a sight of the other person or thing. The sight is blurry. Seeing is also termed to be a verb. Hence, it symbolizes the action of a person who does not have any specific interest for the opposite purpose but, it catches a glimpse.

Comparison Table Between Looking and Seeing

Parameters of Comparison Looking Seeing
Definition Looking refers to one’s action that involves a direct gaze at someone or something. Seeing refers to one’s action that involves simply having a glance if someone or something.
The etymology of the TermThe term look has come from the old English term ‘locian’, meaning using of eyes for gazing at something.The term see has come from two Latin terms namely vis and also one of its variant vid, which refers to ‘see’, meaning visual.
Depth of the Meaning When a person is looking at someone or something then it is said that it involves a conscious and or intentional attempt.When a person is seeing someone or something then it is said that it involves an unconscious or unintentional attempt.
Verb TypeLooking is considered a regular verb.Seeing is considered to be an irregular verb.
Action Since looking at someone or something is a conscious action and therefore it is not considered to be an automatic action. Since seeing someone or something is an unconscious action and therefore it is considered to be an automatic action.
Progressive TenseThe term ‘looking’ is generally used along with progressive tenses.The term ‘seeing’ is generally not used along with the progressive tenses.
Present Tense/InfinitiveThe present tense or the infinitive of the term looking are look and looks.The present tense or the infinitive if the term seeing is see.
Example Ravi was looking for his car keys.Marry remembers seeing some good old childhood photos of her best friend.

What is Looking?

Looking is a term that is generally used to describe the intentional gaze at someone or something by the opposite person with its eyes. Looking in the present continuous tense form of the term look or looks. The look is also said to be the infinitive term. The term look has come from the old English term ‘locian’, meaning using of eyes for gazing at something. The term from which the word look is originated describe the meaning itself.

Looking is considered a regular verb. It is considered a regular verb because it never changes its pattern, in the other tense as well. The major infinitive term ‘look’ is never changed and hence remains the same. When a person is looking at someone or something then it is said that it involves a conscious and or intentional attempt. This is because, when we look at someone or something we purposely want to have a glimpse of that thing. The action involved is not carried out without the sense of the person.

Also, looking at someone or something is a conscious action and therefore it is not considered to be an automatic action. The person has the full sense of the action. One more point to be noted is that the term ‘looking’ is generally used along with progressive tenses. One fine example with the term looking is — Ravi was looking for his car keys. Here in this sentence, it is directed that Ravi has forgotten or lost his car keys, and therefore, he is purposely in search of those keys.

What is Seeing?

The term seeing is used to portray a sentence in a way where it means that a person unintentionally has a glimpse of someone or something with their eyes. Its main purpose is not to have a glimpse of the thing but, its vision is blurry and not clear. The person who sees something or someone then he/she slightly remembers that instance but it is not that clear, since it’s unintentional. The present tense or the infinitive if the term seeing is ‘see’.

The term see has come from two Latin terms namely vis and also one of its variant vid, which refers to ‘see’, meaning visual. The term gives a clear definition of the term. Also, it is said that when a person is seeing someone or something then it involves an unconscious or unintentional attempt. Since we already know it is unintentional. Therefore, the person is unconscious or unaware of its visual.

Seeing is considered to be an irregular verb. The term see changes its spelling when in other tenses, such as saw, seen, etc. Hence, it is considered an irregular verb. It also can not be used with the other progressive tenses. It is an automatic action, without the proper knowledge. One example of the term Seeing is — Marry remembers seeing some good old childhood photos of her best friend. In this sentence, we can clearly have the knowledge that Marry has seen a childhood photo of her best friend without any intention of seeing it, but by mistake, she saw that photo, and now she has a glimpse of that photo.

Main Differences Between Looking and Seeing

  1. Looking refers to one’s action that involves direct a gaze at someone or something. On the other hand, seeing refers to one’s action that involves simply having a glance if someone or something.
  2. The term look has come from the old English term ‘locian’, meaning using of eyes for gazing at something. On the other hand, the term see has come from two Latin terms namely vis and also one of its variant vid, which refers to ‘see’, meaning visual.
  3. When a person is looking at someone or something then it is said that it involves a conscious and or intentional attempt. On the other hand, when a person is seeing someone or something then it is said that it involves an unconscious or unintentional attempt.
  4. Looking is considered a regular verb. On the other hand, seeing is considered to be an irregular verb.
  5. Since looking at someone or something is a conscious action and therefore it is not considered to be an automatic action. On the other hand, seeing someone or something is an unconscious action and therefore it is considered to be an automatic action.
  6. The term ‘looking’ is generally used along with progressive tenses. On the other hand, the term ‘seeing’ is generally not used along with the progressive tenses.
  7. The present tense or the infinitive of the term looking are look and looks. On the other hand, the present tense or the infinitive if the term seeing is see.
  8. One example of the term Looking is Ravi was looking for his car keys. On the other hand, one example of the term Seeing is Marry remembers seeing some good old childhood photos of her best friend.

Conclusion

Looking and Seeing are different from each other in many aspects. Its meanings, origins, purpose, etc are different and hence make a difference between them. But, often people get confused while using both the terms verbally or in writing. The detailed differences have been discussed above with the help of a table. One should be careful while using the terms looking and seeing as it explains different meanings. The origin of the terms has also been discussed.

References

  1. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/135062800394766
  2. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=ZnrnCwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PR7&dq=looking+vs+seeing&ots=QOZpnWRbIG&sig=xU8f2r_ITdptRFXYHqzr7FmikJ4
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