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Usage Glossary: A B C D E F G H I K L M N O P Q R S T U V W Y

hear/listen

Hear requires no attention or focus from the persondoing the hearing. It takes a direct object. Listen requires conscious effort on the part of thelistener. An object of listen, if expressed, must be preceded by a preposition (usually to or for).


We heard the hum of the machinery.

We listened to the hum of themachinery.

We listened for the hum of themachinery.


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