See a film? watch a movie?

Do you like movies? Which word should we use? To see or to watch?

Generally to watch is a now activity:

  • Watch the movie! (Pay attention to the movie now!)
  • I am watching a movie.
  • I was watching the movie when my phone rang.

And to see is less time-specific:

  • I saw a movie.
  • Have you seen that movie?
  • Let's go see the movie.

Note also that the use of cinema or (movie) theater depends on where you are. In the US people go to the movies, but in other places they go to the cinema.

Thus,

  • If you live in England you might say, "I went to the cinema to watch a movie."
  • If you live in the US, you will say, "I went to the movies to make out with my girlfriend."

Comments

English learner said…
Hi. Do you have any other idiomatic differences in vocabulary between the American and British English? I have used many books and they never seem to make a distinct difference between them. Are there any text that specifically target this difference?
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