I've seen 看 used on its own, 见 used on its own, and 看见 used together.

My understanding:

  • 看 means "to see" or "to watch", objects are typically inanimate (i.e. not people)
  • 见 means "to see" or "to meet", objects are typically people

Is the above correct?

Why would you use 看见? This (Rocket Languages) site suggests it means "to catch a glimpse of". Specifically, why use 看见 instead of just 见 ?

It's even a website! where the object is 音了 -- as in, "see the music" ?

The Rocket Languages site also explains the complement form, 看不见 which suggests "can't" -- are there other examples

  • 1
    sometimes they are abbv form,我要去看一个病人,here,看=看望,探望,会见,拜访 , it is same as 见 of 我要去见客户。 Jan 14, 2016 at 23:49

1 Answer 1


your understanding is correct for the basic use. the difference between 看 and 看见,the latter usually means 'have seen/watched', which emphasizes the fact that sb saw sb/sth in the time before.

  • Thank for emphasis on "have seen/watched" -- before in time Dec 31, 2015 at 18:09

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