- Disambiguation: This article is about the verb "to listen"; for the language skill see listening.
Meaning[edit | edit source]
Listen is a verb of perception. Note the semantic difference between listen and hear. Listen generally represents intentional, conscious, or purposeful use of the sense of hearing. As such, listening tends to be a progressive activity, such as listening to music. One may listen for but not hear a faint sound. Conversely, one can hear a sudden sound even if one is not listening. A similar distinction is made between see and watch.
Form[edit | edit source]
Listen is a lexical verb that is a regular verb. It has a bare infinitive and base form listen, a third person form listens /ˈlɪsənz/; a regular preterite and past participle listened (/ˈlɪsənd/). The -ing form is listening /ˈlɪsənɪŋ(g)/, which as a gerund is an important language skill.
Listen is an intransitive verb, so it cannot take a direct object. Rather, the optional direct object forms part of a prepositional phrase beginning with “to”; e.g. I listen to music. Language learners often try to use this transitively, e.g. *I listen music - producing an error.
We can also listen for something.
Pronunciation[edit | edit source]
Listen has a silent T; /ˈlɪsən/. EFL learners may apply spelling pronunciation and pronounce it as */ˈlɪstən/.