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Sehen,Schauen, gucken, betrachten, beobachten und blicken.

Sehen,Schauen, gucken, betrachten, beobachten und blicken.

I am still a beginner and I really wanted to know what are the differences among these words when it comes to the sense of vision. and Do they even have English counterparts?..if so then what is the german counterpart for "watch"?

and also what are the effects on adding prefixes on them like : ansehen, zusehen , aussehen, anschauen ,zuschauen , angucken und zugucken.

It would be really great help if someone shows me that and thanks in advance!

June 16, 2017



Sehen is passive, it refers to the sensory function, as in you are aware something exists, because your eyes produce an image that lets you know. It means to see

Schauen is active, it is an action you perform by using your face muscles. Like turning your head or eyeballs somewhere or making faces. It meens to look

Beobachten means to cautiously, actively follow some event with your eyes, or to "keep an eye" on something over a longer period of time. Usually in more serious situations. It means to observe

Gucken is the same as Schauen, but informal

Blicken is the same as Schauen, but more formal

Betrachten means looking at something, usually still images, it is a very formal word.

The prefix an means at, ansehen or anschauen means to look at or to watch, they are used with the Akkusativ case

The prefix zu can mean a lot of things, mostly to. zusehen or zuschauen means to watch somebody doing something/to watch along, it is used with the Dativ case

The prefix aus means out, aussehen means to look (like somebody or something), it refers to physical appearance. There is also a noun Aussehen - look/appearance

The most important ones here are sehen, schauen and anschauen - to see, to look and to watch


Thanks so much...The best answer over internet so far) ... I 99% got it. )

Sehen and schauen are used in nomin. or akkus. case?

So mainly if I say "I watch the film." then it will be "Ich ansehe / anschaue den FIlm." this means at this case I can't use sehen or some other verb?

and thanks again ^^


Sehen uses an Akk. object

Schauen is intransitive, just like to look


That would be way to easy. Your idea is correct, and in the infinitive case it is as Paralas said, but in the tenses where the verb is not in the infinitive the anschauen gets split, so you get "Ich schaue den Film an." And, to add more exception, for movies you can leave out the an. Except if you add a reflexive pronoun, so these sentences are also ok: "Ich schaue den Film" "Ich schaue mir den Film an" but not: "Ich schaue mir den Film"

I never realized that level of complication, and I am sorry for everyone trying to learn it...


Yes, all verbs with a prefix like an are seperable. The reflexive isn't really ever required, though


Lemme talk about two main points:

the first one: So you mean that the verb watch can be translated only to (anschauen/ansehen) with keeping in mind that there is only one exception which is with the word "Film" where we can use the verb schauen with it?............this means that I cant say "Ich sehe/schaue das Fernsehen."?

the second one: Regarding the reflexive pronouns ( mir dir sich uns euch) Let me tell you What I know of them and i will gladly see your responses and hope if u can correct some points which i might have gotten wrong ^^ ...... a reflexive pronoun as mir can be used in three ways

the first meaning is "myself" like the example " Ich schaue mir den Film an." .......... the question here: what is the order of mir (with the meaning myself) in the sentence? like should it be right after the verb or at the end of the sentence?

the second meaning is " to me " as " Gib es mir."

the third meaning is "me" as " Liebst du mich?"

Did i get it correctly? If sone can answer this i would really appreciate it so much ^^ .


Yes, technically, to watch is translated as anschauen. But here is the thing: It is a seperable verb, which means the prefix an will go at the end of the sentence when conjugated into e.g. present tense

"Ich schaue den Film an"

And since this prefix is the very last, tiny word in the sentence, and the sentence is already understood after "Film", people tend to just end the sentence right there.

"Ich schaue den Film"

As a result of this, schauen or even sehen are often used to mean watch, but only when there is no possible confusion with the actual meaning of to see

For example, in English, you could watch a movie, or you could watch your children. You could say "I see a movie", because a movie is always something you watch, but you wouldn't say "I see my children" with the meaning of "I watch my children", because those are two diffrent things.

If this seems confusing, you can't go wrong with just translating to watch with anschauen, and you're allowed to use just schauen with anything that's made to be "watched" (films, shows, TV)

And to just complicate it a little further, we actually have the seperable verb fernsehen, which is used for TV.

Now, for reflexive pronouns. There are actually two cases of reflexive pronouns: Akkusativ and Dativ. In

Ich schaue mir den Film an (Correct word order)

it is a reflexive Dativ pronoun. Your other two examples aren't actually reflexive. Reflexive means that the Subject is the same as the Object. Only as in "myself".

Gib es mir (mir is a personal Dativ pronoun)

Liebst du mich (mich is a personal Akkusativ pronoun)

Luckily, in German, reflexive pronouns and personal pronouns are identical except for the 3. Person pronouns.


Paralars1 Thank you so much you are the only one so far who could make this topic so self-understandable :) tho german has little eccentricity tho ) like when an English speaker (btw I am natively an arabian and I am 15) like me sees a sentence like "Ich schaue mir den Film an." he will find it a bit peculiar and might translate it into "I watch the film myself." ........little odd but every language has its way of speaking i guess :)

Lastly i wonder if I could add you somehow on social media or at some kind of chats? So we can share some ideas about German from time to time.


okay, sure, you can add me on skype if you want. it's just paralars

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