English Corner 1

One group of words that can be confusing to someone learning English are see, look, and watch.

Watch: watch is often used when you want to talk about observing something that moves. It is also used when you want to show that someone looks at something for a period of time.  In addition, it's used in the expressions watch TV and watch a movie.

Look: look means to actively and intentionally use your eyes, to turn your eyes toward something in order to see it. Always say look at something or someone.

See: see means to notice something or examine something with your eyes.    

This morning I went out to see the new flowers in my garden. First I looked at the daffodils and then I looked at the tulips. I had not seen such beautiful flowers in my life!  I went back in the house and asked my mother to come out. "You will see the most beautiful flowers!" I said. Once we got to the garden, I said, "Look at these tulips! Look at these daffodils! Aren't they beautiful?" My mother agreed with me. While we were looking at the flowers, a tiny bird flew by and went into a nearby tree. We watched it start to build a nest. We watched it fly back and forth, picking up pieces of grass and tiny bits of wood. I could have watched the little bird all day, but it was time to get ready for work.

Americans love sports and we use a lot of sports metaphors. Here are a few popular ones.

  1. Level playing field - a situation that is fair and the same for everyone

  2. Move the goalposts - change the rules while something is in progress

  3. A (whole) new ball game - a completely new and changed situation

  4.  (v) Play the field  - in dating: go out with many different men/women

  5. The whole 9 yards - everything

  6. (v) Score - to get something you really want

  7. Go the distance - not to quit, to keep on going until the very end

  8. (v) Step up (to the plate) - rise to the occasion,. become more active to help your team or group

  9. (v) Touch base- call or contact in some way

  10. Cover (all) the bases - cover everything, not leave anything out

  11. Off the bat - without thinking, spontaneously

  12.  (v) Come from out in left field - be a big surprise

  13. In the ballpark - almost; not exact, but close

  14. Ballpark figure - an approximate number

  15. Slam-dunk - something that's really easy

  16. (v) Bat a thousand = do something perfectly, get everything right