Hear or Listen?

The Quick Answer
What is the difference between hear and listen?

To hear means to experience sound. For example:
  • I hear the dogs bark every morning.
To listen means to apply the ability to hear deliberately. For example:
  • Listen to the wind.

Hear or Listen?

The verbs to hear and to listen have similar meanings, but there is a subtle difference between them.

Hear

The verb to hear means to experience sound. In other words, it means to perceive sound through the ears. For example:
  • I heard a noise outside.
  • My dog can't hear very well.

Listen

The verb to listen means to apply the ability to hear deliberately. In other words, it means to pay attention to a sound. To listen is usually followed by to or for. For example:
  • Listen to the drum solo.
  • The dog listens for the car arriving.
  • Do you like to listen to classical music?

See Also

adverse or averse? affect or effect? appraise or apprise? avenge or revenge? bare or bear? complement or compliment? dependant or dependent? discreet or discrete? disinterested or uninterested? e.g. or i.e.? envy or jealousy? imply or infer? its or it's? material or materiel? poisonous or venomous? practice or practise? principal or principle? tenant or tenet? who's or whose?
What are nouns? List of easily confused words