Look Vs. Watch
We LOOK AT things either that don’t move or that move in predictable and not especially interesting ways – though the act of looking itself can be interesting. We look at statues, paintings, flowers, as well as at leaves rustling in the wind, elevators and escalators going up or down, people or cars passing by, etc. We aren’t curious about what will happen with them. We know. We look for some other reason – usually for the experience it gives us or to gather visual information.
We WATCH things when we ARE curious to see what happens with them OR that the act of watching is particularly interesting even if we know the outcome in advance. The ones we aren’t sure of the outcomes of can be either moving or not moving. We watch fights, sports matches, the news, our valuables around gypsies, water to see if it’s boiling yet, children we are responsible for, etc. The other ones – that we do know the outcomes of in advance have to be moving. These will be things like watching the sun go up and down, a mother cat feeding her babies, leaves rustling in the wind…
But, oh. Wait. Did you notice? We also LOOKED AT leaves rustling in the wind too, remember? And actually we could also have looked at the sun go up and down and the mother cat feeding her babies. Those ones can be both then – when there’s movement, but we know what will happen in advance – we can either LOOK AT or WATCH those things depending on how interesting we want to say it is to the subject of the verb.