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I need to know the difference between "to hear" and "to listen". Could you explain it to me, please? I'm not a native English speaker.

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    Hear and listen (to) are both active sense verbs, in this case the verbs for the sense of hearing. The difference between them is that listen is a volitional activity (you do it on purpose), while hear is a non-volitional activity (you can do it accidentally). The same distinction is what distinguishes the visual sense verbs look (at) (volitional) and see (non-volitional). – John Lawler Jul 13 at 16:30
  • ...But there is a grey area. 'Hear' is broadened in say "Are you hearing me?" (a near-sarcastic way of saying "You're not listening. Are you even hearing me?" – Edwin Ashworth yesterday
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In a comment, John Lawler wrote:

Hear and listen (to) are both active sense verbs, in this case the verbs for the sense of hearing. The difference between them is that listen is a volitional activity (you do it on purpose), while hear is a non-volitional activity (you can do it accidentally). The same distinction is what distinguishes the visual sense verbs look (at) (volitional) and see (non-volitional).

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