General Writing and Grammar Help/See & watch


Is there a difference in meaning between the following two sentences?

1) I SAW a beautiful movie on TV last night.

2) I WATCHED a beautiful movie on TV last night.

Thank you,


Used properly, watch denotes an affirmative continuing action by the watcher, that is not necessary when something is simply seen. One would not watch a sign, for example, unless the watcher expected it to change while he or she watched it. But in a theater one would watch--not see--a movie. In informal speech see is sometimes used in place of watch.

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Richard Johnson


I can answer any question--usually the same day--on correct English grammar, usage, and (non-fiction) writing style, usually the same day, based on the American practice. All answers are explained, and I encourage follow-up.


I'm a retired editor and a lifelong student of this subject. My library includes a great many works to which I've referred through the years. I currently rely primarily on the sixteenth edition of The Chicago Manual of Style.

For over 30 years I edited the newsletter of my own organization, which had different names but was last known as

BA, Brooklyn College. Advanced studies in economics and political science.

Awards and Honors
For many years a member of Mensa.

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