What is the difference between look at and see? For example:
- Can I look at it?
Can I see it?
- Let's go to look at him.
Let's go to see him.
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If someone says "I have a book of photographs by Diane Arbus", and you respond with "Can I see it?" or "Can I look at it?", there is no difference in meaning. "Look at" and "see" in this case mean the same thing: "I want to view/inspect the photographs/book."
If someone says, for example, "Did you want to speak to John? He's at Willie's Bar and Grill right now", and you say "Let's go (to) see him", it means "Let's go to Willie's Bar and Grill to visit John and talk with him", but if you say "Let's go to look at him", it means "Let's go to Willie's Bar and Grill and view/stare at/inspect John". John is being considered a person in the first sentence but an object (like a book of photographs or a statue) in the second.
In some languages, one verb is used for "look", "read", and "see" (Chinese speakers in Taiwan, for example, use the verb "kàn" (看) for all three even though there are three different verbs for those three English words. What "kàn" means in a particular sentence, though, depends on the context and what question it answers.
In English, "looking at a book", "seeing a book", and "reading a book" have three different meanings. To "look at" means to "inspect/view", to "see" means to "perceive with the eyes", and to "read" means to look at and (try to) "understand the words in the book" (the content/meaning).