talking about how we see things

When it comes to observing the world around us, surely the ideal subject for our investigation of the verbs “see”, “look” & “watch” are detectives? Whether or not you enjoy watching detective TV series such as Columbo, The Killing, or Sherlock Holmes, everyone knows those often eccentric and always cunning detectives who, through their great powers of observation and deduction, and irritating singlemindedness, will always get to the bottom of every case. Hopefully they can also help us examine and interrogate the various meanings of these verbs.

Following the popular Express Yourself in English blogs on Do & Make and Say, Tell, Speak & Talk, I thought it was time to take a look at three more very common verbs, this time concerned with sight, that can be confused. Not only can these verbs be used differently but they each have their own variations of meaning (not always related to sight) according to the context. Warning: there are phrasal verbs involved…

The Materials

The introduction “Watching the Detectives” uses a cartoon (my own original artwork!) to highlight some of the different uses of these three verbs. Students have a chance to talk about famous fictional detectives and the powers of observation before exploring the uses and meanings of see, look and watch

The Summary “See, look & watch” goes into more details on different meanings of and between the three verbs, and phrasal verbs with look. There are exercises to make sure these explanations have been understood.

The video lesson “Eyewitness Account” explores the role of the eyewitness and the reliability of our memory in such situations. Students watch a short film showing a crime taking place and write down what they can remember immediately afterwards. The final writing exercise involves using the past simple and past continuous forms for an eyewitness account, both of which are very important in reporting past events. There is a summary and chart on the narrative tenses to revise these forms.

Resources Page

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