The difference between "hear" and "listen"

Several weeks ago we received an email from Anis, asking us the difference between "hear" and "listen".  So I thought this would be a good idea for a blog post, as many can benefit from this.

In Bahasa Malaysia, both words can be translated as "dengar". So it's understandable why "hear" and "listen" can get mistaken for one other.

But in English, "hear" is a verb that means to sense a sound with our ears, while "listen" is a verb that means to actively focus on a particular sound.

For example, say you're chatting with a friend in a park. You can hear birds chirping, children playing around you and your friend talking to you. However, you focus only on what your friend is saying to you. That means you are listening to her.

Hear = to sense any sound coming to our ears.
Listen = to focus on a particular sound coming to our ears.

I hope this explanation is useful!

Let us know in the comments if you have any other words that you're confused with! We'll do our best to help explain them to you.

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