Difference between Hear and Listen

Difference between Hear and Listen

There is a huge difference between hear and listen.  Hear means to perceive by ear; to physically experience the sense of sound. One can hear as long as brain can process the sound waves received through ears.

The word  listen means to pay attention;  to meaningfully and deliberately apply the ability to hear. One who listens is thinking about what is heard, what it means, how to respond, and whether to continue to listen/pay attention.

Imagine three friends are talking about a girl while taking a stroll in the park. A girl passes by them, and one of them  is awestruck the beauty of the girl. He starts thinking about the girl ignoring the conversation. This third person can hear the conversation, but is not listening to it.


Hear Listen
I can’t hear you. (generally used on phone) Now listen to me- you are not going to eat junk food.
I have not heard from him for a long time. I am listening to music.
I can hear you, but can’t not understand a single word. Kids are supposed to listen to elders.

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