See-look-watch и не только

Смотреть, видеть, наблюдать, поглядывать, подглядывать, уставиться - даже в русском языке есть огромное количество синонимов, чтобы описать действие воспроизводимое с помощью одного из органов чувств - глаз. Английский в этом случае не уступает русскому и тоже использует огромное количество слов. Давайте посмотрим на них более внимательно:

See is an inactive word. When your eyes are open, you do it without thinking.  Просто физическая возможность, не уделяя особого внимания предмету наблюдения. 

  • After so many years spent in the darkness, I can see
  • She looked at the book but saw nothing.

Look (at) is an active word. You must want to do it. But it is for a short time. Смотреть на что-то (часто статическую картинку) внимательно.

  • She looked at me and smiled. 
  • When you take a walk, look around you.

Watch is also an active word. You must want to do it but it is for a longer period of time. Лучше всего перевод описывается словом наблюдать, следить. Мы смотрим внимательно и какое-то время наше внимание приковано к действию.

  • We watch TV every evening.
  • He spent the entire afternoon watching a football match.

Это основные глаголы. Давайте посмотрим на их синонимы, которые помогут уточнить характер действия и выразить наше отношение к предмету.

Glance means to take a brief look (intentionally). Бросить быстрый взгляд на предмет, взглянуть мельком, но специально. Из серии "достаточно одной таблэтки" одного только взгляда, чтобы все понять и оценить.

  • Steve glanced at the headlines while waiting for the bus.
  • Ann glanced at her notes before entering the examination hall.

Glimpse means to take a brief look (unintentionally); a "glimpse" can also be intentional, for example, when someone is trying very hard to see something and then finally catches a glimpse of it. When intentional, a "glimpse" usually requires more effort, or maybe some stroke of luck. Очень похож на предыдущий глагол: глянуть мельком, украдкой. Есть небольшое отличие - случайно, ненароком скользнуть взглядом. 

  • When Misha turned his head to glance at the clock, we caught a glimpse of the girl who was with him.
  • I glimpsed the knife before she slipped it into her bag.

Stare means to give a rude look to somebody; a "stare" is not always rude: I can stare at someone in the same way, I might gaze at him or her. Also, you can definitely "stare" at things, which is hardly ever rude. "Staring" generally just means to look at someone or something for a long time, for whatever reason. Наиболее близкий перевод будет смотреть долго, пристально, уставиться, всматриваться. Этот глагол может нести негативный оттенок.

  • The children stared at clown in wonder.
  • He sat staring ahead of him.

Glare means angry look/stare. Означает смотреть свирепо, зло - пощады от такого не жди (если б взгляд убивал...)

  • She didn't say anything but just sat there glaring at me.

Gaze means to give a romantic look to somebody; when referred to "someone," it does have a romantic sense, but when referred to something, it may simply have a sense of tranquillity, remarkability, astonishment, etc. For example, "to gaze at the stars."  Смотреть пристально, вглядываться, любоваться, смотреть с удивлением, восхищением и любовью.

  • They lay down and gazed at the clouds passing overhead.
  • He sat and gazed into the distance lost in thought.

Contemplate = to observe deeply; this does not have much to do with sight. Рассматривать, созерцать, размышлять, думать о будущем.

  • He likes contemplating the stars.
  • He was contemplating his future.

Skim = to read inattentively; yes, but not in a negative sense. It simply means "to gather the main idea(s) of a text by reading it quickly." Просмотреть, прочитать по диагонали.

Scan = to read with attention; this word can overlap with "to skim" at times, but you're right that it usually means "to read more diligently," in the sense that the reader attends to every part of the text.  Skim и skin - два метода, используемых при чтении. Scan позволяет человеку искать конкретную информацию в большом тексте, а skim позволяет человеку быстро прочитать что-то, чтобы получить основную идею. 

  • If the person wanted to scan that material, he might use the "find" function on the computer to search for specific terms and try to find certain relevant sections of the material.
  • Instead of reading through every single source, the person will usually skim the descriptions of the links, and then select the source he wants to read through more thoroughly.

Peek = to take a brief look, secretly. Взглянуть, посмотреть, но так чтобы никто не видел. 🙂

Peep = to take a long look, secretly; yes, and this verb is usually used in the progressive: "he was peeping" or "We are peeping" - which adds to the idea of a longer length of time. Заглядывать, смотреть щурясь, подглядывать. (Peep hole - смотровое отверстие, глазок)

  • The moon peeped out from behind the clouds.
  • Janet told me not to look in her drawer, but I couldn’t resist peeking in.
  • What are you doing peeping through that keyhole?

Peer = to observe searching something; I think you mean "to search for something by making an observation." Also, "to peer" is usually followed by a preposition--"to peer into something," "to peer over something." Вглядываться, всматриваться, смотреть, рассматривать очень внимательно.

  • She took off her glasses and peered at him.

Gape (at) means to look in great surprise at someone or something, especially with an open mouth. Пялиться, долго смотреть, смотреть, разинув рот (от удивления или неожиданности).

  • She stood gaping at me too shocked to speak.

Squint (at) - смотреть искоса, коситься, щуриться (если плохо видно). He squinted at the neighbour's newspaper. - Он покосился на соседскую газету.

  • The sun was shining straight in her eyes and made her squint.
  • He squinted sleepy eyes against the sudden light.

Scowl (at) - смотреть хмуро, бросать злой, сердитый взгляд. She scowled and told them to get out. - Она хмуро посмотрела и велела им убираться вон.

  • She scowled at the two men as they entered the room.

Довольно часто в значении смотреть встечаются обороты: give a glance, give a look, catch a look, take a look и т.д.

Чаще всего с глаголами смотреть употребляется предлог at.  Хотя порой употребляются и другие предлоги, но при этом несколько меняется значение глаголов:

  • to look behind - посмотреть назад
  • to look back - оглядываться
  • to look up - взглянуть вверх
  • to look forward - смотреть вперед
  • to look aside - смотреть в сторону
  • to look the other way - отвернуться
  • to look about/around - осмотреться, оглядеться
  • to look through - просматривать (журнал)
  • to look into - смотреть в (воду, темноту)
  • glanced back - оглянуться
  • glanced through - просмотреть
  • stare down - смутить взглядом

или не несколько

  • see off - провожать, выпроваживать
  • see into - вникать, рассматривать, разбираться
  • see about - позаботиться о чем-то, подумать
  • to look for - искать
  • to look after - присматривать за, ухаживать за
  • to look over - внимательно изучать, проверять
  • to look forward to -ждать с нетерпением


И несколько забавных историй, чтобы лучше запомнить разницу между синонимами глагола видеть.

Sherlock Holmes and his friend Watson were on a camping and hiking trip. They had gone to bed and were lying there looking up at the sky.
Holmes said, "Watson, look up. What do you see?"
"Well, I see thousands of stars."
"And what does that mean to you?"
"Well, I guess it means we will have another nice day tomorrow. What does it mean to you, Holmes?"
"To me, it means someone has stolen our tent."

An 80-year-old couple was having problems remembering things, so they decided to go to their doctor to get checked out to make sure nothing was wrong with them. When they arrived at the doctor's, they explained to the doctor about the problems they were having with their memory. After checking the couple out, the doctor tells them that they were physically okay but might want to start writing things down and make notes to help them remember things. The couple thanked the doctor and left.
Later that night while watching TV, the old man got up from his chair and his wife asks, "Where are you going?"
He replies, "To the kitchen."
She asks, "Will you get me a bowl of ice cream?"
He replies, "Sure."
She then asks him, "Don't you think you should write it down so you can remember it?"
He says, "No, I can remember that."
She then says, "Well, I also would like some strawberries on top. You had better write that down 'cause I know you'll forget that."
He says, "I can remember that, you want a bowl of ice cream with strawberries."
She replies, "Well, I also would like whip cream on top. I know you will forget that so you better write it down."
With irritation in his voice, he says, "I don't need to write that down, I can remember that." He then fumes into the kitchen.
After about 20 minutes he returns from the kitchen and hands her a plate of bacon and eggs. She stares at the plate for a moment and says, "You forgot my toast."

The Irish girl knelt in the confessional and said, "Bless me, Father, for I have sinned." "What is it, child?" The girl said, "Father, I have committed the sin of vanity (тщеславие). Twice a day I gaze at myself in the mirror and tell myself how beautiful I am." The priest turned, took a good look at the girl, and said, "My dear, I have good news. That isn't a sin – it's only a mistake."