The verbs «look», «see», and «watch» and often be confusing for non-native speakers because they all involve our sense of sight — using our eyes — but have different meanings and are used to express different ideas.
«See» is often a passive action that cannot be prevented. We begin to see as soon as we open our eyes in the morning. This is used to describe action that is not deliberate most of the time. Here are some examples:
I can see a cloud.
I saw a squirrel in the park today.
Can you see that boat off in the distance?
When we «look», we try to see. This is a purposeful action. Note that when we mention the object of the verb, we use the preposition «at».
Look! It's snowing!
Look at this photo! Isn't it beautiful?
John looked at Blake.
Like «look», «watch» is an active action. However, it’s used with an object that is moving or expected to move. We look at a picture or at cooking instructions, but we watch a movie or a dog play.
I like watching football on TV.
If you watch that egg for long enough you'll see it hatch.
A watched pot never boils.
There is are some exceptions to these rules. One such exception involves how we use «look» and «watch» to describe where the action occurred. In general, we use «see» for something that happens in public and «watch» for something at home.
We're going to see the latest Avengers movie at the theater tonight.
Have you ever seen Blind Pilot live on stage?
Last night we stayed home and watched some movies.
I get bored quickly when I watch TV.