"[Song] ''I've ever heard'' Vs ''I've ever listened to''

Xavier da Silva

Senior Member
Hello everyone,


1. The sentences "I listen to music" or "I listen to country music" are common idiomatic.

2. "Hear" isn't the best verb in the sentences above.

3. My question: Why is the sentence "this is the best song I've ever heard" more common/natural than "this is the best song I've ever listened to?''


Thank you in advance!
 
  • DocPenfro

    Senior Member
    English - British
    "To hear" is a comprehensive term that covers 100% of the auditory input to your brain. You can hear a pin drop, and you can hear the sound of distant thunder. If you "listen to" something, then you are hearing it with a degree of intention and sustained concentration. I hear country music when my next door neighbour plays it. I listen to music by Led Zeppelin on my own stereo and I play it loud enough so that I can't hear music coming from next door.

    I suggest that we have to say "the best song I've ever heard", rather than "the best song I've ever listened to", in order to include every song that you have ever experienced, whether voluntarily or involuntarily. I have listened to the Doors' song "LA Woman" hundreds of times. I think it's the best song I have ever heard.
     
    Last edited:

    ridgemao

    Senior Member
    Chinese - Mandarin
    If you "listen to" something, then you are hearing it with a degree of intention and sustained concentration.
    My daughter used earphones to listen to songs. After 20 minutes, I asked her: "How many songs have you listened to?"

    I think I should use "listen" here, am I right?

    Thank you.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I suggest that we have to say "the best song I've ever heard", rather than "the best song I've ever listened to", in order to include every song that you have ever experienced, whether voluntarily or involuntarily.
    I agree with DocPenfro's post from 2012. I don't imagine you are seriously implying that, when I say "the best song I ever heard", I am mentally sorting the songs known to me into two categories: those I heard by chance and those I sat down to listen to deliberately.:confused:
     

    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    I agree with DocPenfro's post from 2012. I don't imagine you are seriously implying that, when I say "the best song I ever heard", I am mentally sorting the songs known to me into two categories: those I heard by chance and those I sat down to listen to deliberately.:confused:
    I do not see that as his point at all. On the other hand, if one says "the best song I ever listened to", then one would be sorting them that way, and making the distinction -- which is clearly absurd.
     
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