Listen vs. Hear (Summary)

The word “HEAR” indicates that sounds enter your ears whether you want them to or not, whereas “LISTEN” indicates that you are aware of what you hear.


HEAR (Without effort)  – No effort is required for a sound/noise to enter your ear.


  • There was thunder last night, didn’t you hear it?
  • Can you hear me?


Listen (With effort) – You are listening when you pay attention and try to listen to sounds.


  • I tried to listen but I couldn’t hear anything.
  • You’d better listen to your teacher if you want to stay out of trouble.


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