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  5. 看 vs. 见


看 vs. 见

Some examples to show the difference of 看 vs. 见

good √√

bad XX

Welcome to join or provide the rules.

November 21, 2017



我看书/报/杂志 √√

‎我见书/报/杂志 XX

I read books/newspaper/magazine

我看电视/电影 √√

‎我见电视/电影 XX

I watch TV/movie


Simple rules:


  1. look (at). This verb can be both intransitive and transitive.

  2. (derived from 1) read, watch.


In ancient Chinese, it's the verb "see". In MSM, when used independently, it means "meet".

我要去见我的老师。I'm going to meet my teacher.

In MSM, one should use 看见 for see. It is always transitive.



I don't like you. I don't want to see you.

你的帽子太可笑了! 我不想看你。√√

Your hat is so ridiculous! I don't want to look at you.

Note: The meaning of 见 in the first sentence is "to meet". So the direct object can only be a person/people.



I don't like this painting. I don't want to see it.

看到 in reverse can be used on people. The meaning of this word is "to catch sight of".


I don't like you. I don't want to see you.

The meaning here will be telling the listener to stay away from your sight. If the listener is already in front of you, you are not likely to say the first sentence at the top, because you are already meeting him; You are more likely to say 我不想看到你.

看见、看到 are interchangeable in these examples.


"你看见我的照相机吗? "

means "Do you catch sight of my camera?"

A possible scenario is when the speaker is taking a portrait of the listener.

So "Have you seen my camera?" is not a justifiable translation.

It should be translated as "Can/Could you see my camera?"

"Have you seen my camera?" is "你有没有 看过/见过 我的照相机吗? "


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