Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Have you heard people use “look” in conversation but felt a bit confused about the usage?

Do you ever wonder what the right way to use this word may be or help you to draw attention to something?

Today we answer a question about how you use the word “look” to get somebody to pay attention to something?

You will learn how to use this key skill in English, and what works best in this situation.


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We have a question from a listener about the word “look” and how you use it to draw attention to something.

Hi Lindsay, I’m a loyal listener of your podcast, and I love it so much that I won’t miss a single episode. I am confused about the phrase “look here.”

I want to ask for your advice. I know it’s not right to say “look at here”, but what if I mean “look at this?”

What if I’m trying to get somebody to look here at this picture on the screen? It seems to put more emphasis on “look”, but I’m just confused. I would really appreciate your help in understanding this so that I know how to use it.

Thank you for your help, Judy

Using Look To Draw Attention To Something

The word look is diverse, and we’ve done several episodes on this in the past.

The question is a very good one, as this word can be used a lot and may be somewhat confusing.

Do you use the phrase “look here” often?

It may be good if you are trying to point to something very specific, or if you are using it in a more casual situation.

It may be good if you are trying to get somebody to listen.

It may be used in an argument too if you are trying to get your point across.

It may be if you find a parking spot in a lot, like “look here, I found a spot.”

Understanding How This Works

How do you know the difference?

You may be more likely to say “look at this” because it’s straight and to the point.

You can use “look at this” before an object to draw attention to it.

There’s confusion even amongst natives as there isn’t really one right answer.

You wouldn’t say “look here” plus an object like a book—instead you would say “look at this book.”

You may find that “look at this” is used far more often because it fits and makes sense.

“Look at this, I got an A in that class!”

“Look at this screen, it’s totally cracked.”

You can use “look at this” alone or combined with the object that you are trying to draw attention to.

Other Ways To Say This

There are a few other ways to say this sort of thing and you can break it up so you don’t sound monotone and boring.

• “Check this out”: This means the same thing but it’s a cool and very modern way to say this. You are drawing attention to something and it’s a commonly used phrase to do so. It’s fun and very native too, so it works well. “Check this out, it’s a vase made of guitar parts!”

“Come see this”: It works much in the same way and it shows that you are talking about something very specific. It’s a call to action and it forces somebody to pay attention to what you are pointing towards. “Come see this picture, it reminds me of the party we were at.”

“You gotta see this”: This is another more native way of saying the same thing. You know that the person you are talking to would love to see what you are pointing out.

“You gotta see this, you won’t believe that this restaurant is still here.”

All of these phrases work much in the same way, and they can help you to draw attention to something.

They will ensure that you can get somebody to focus on something, and they work particularly well with the right person in the right context.

Roleplay To Help

In this roleplay, Lindsay and Michelle are at an art museum.

Lindsay: “Oh wow Michelle, look at this painting I love the colors.”

Michelle: “That is beautiful, but look here do you think this green is too bright? I wonder why the artist chose to do this.”

Lindsay: “Wow, that’s a unique choice. Oh check this out, it was painted all the way back in the 1800’s.”

Michelle: “That’s is really cool, oh come see this one.”


The question was great because it’s super specific, and it focuses on a word that we hear used in conversations often.

Try this out today and think about how you would use this and who you would use this with.

You want to always focus on the context when you use one or the other because that helps a lot.

Think of the chunks when you think of what you want to say, that will guide you the right way.

There are so many uses for the word “look” and this is a very specific and helpful one to draw attention to something.

This is an important aspect of English speaking, so you want to try these phrases out in your conversations.

If you have any questions, please leave them below in the comments section.

We’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

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