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    Learn English > English lessons and exercises > English test #113277: Vocabulary: hearing, listening
    > Other English exercises on the same topics: Speaking | Frequent mistakes | Synonyms [Change theme]
    > Similar tests: - Placement test beginners: Check your spelling - Past simple or present perfect - Vocabulary: greeting people - Vocabulary: on the phone - On the phone - Interacting with someone - Although / in spite of / despite - Dialogue : What time...?
    > Double-click on words you don't understand

    Vocabulary: hearing, listening


    Our ears enable us to perceive noises, sounds, music, all the noises that can be heard (to hear, I heard, heard), without making any particular effort  [=  involuntary perception]...  and those that you're making an effort to listen to (to listen to) [ = voluntary perception ] and teachers hope that you pay great attention to what they're saying! I'm sure you are! 

    1) Can you hear, or not?...

           TO HEAR= involuntary perception

                         TO LISTEN TO

            = requiring an effort

                  To be all ears=  to listen carefully

             To stop your ears

       = to refuse to hear and listen

                  To keep quiet= to remain silent

       To whisper/murmur

     = to speak in a low voice


                         To prick (up) one's ears

                       = to make an effort to hear

                         "Lend me your ears..."

                 = be careful and attentive...


    2) The different ways of  "crying":

     To cry out = Scream, shout (in terror or pain).
     To scream = Make a loud, sharp cry.
     To shout = Cry loudly and vigorously
     To shriek = Make a loud, sharp, shrill cry. 
     To shrill = Make a high-pitched shrill cry.         
     To screech = Make a harsh, shrill cry.
     To yell = Scream with pain and fright. (GB)
     To holler                       = Shout, yell.  (US)

    3) .... and the different ways of listening....

        To eavesdrop= to spy, to listen

              in a very indiscreet way.

      To overhear=  to spy,but also

           to hear inadvertently.

        A muffler/ a silencer (weapon)

              = a device to deaden a noise


              To be hard of hearing

            = to hear very badly...

                   A hearing-aid

             = an electronic amplifier

         To be deaf/ hearing-impaired           

          = totally hearing-impaired


    They are made to help you hear ( besides the above mentioned "hearing aid").

                       A microphone
                      A (loud-)speaker
                        Hearing aids


    4) We are disturbed by a multitude of varied noises...

    I've picked the verbs which are most frequently met in conversation and which can be very useful... There are many others but those need to be known by more advanced learners. 

              To ring (tel. alarm clock)
                          To jingle (bells)

                     To screech

     = make a harsh shrill noise

    To clink (for glasses, bottles, crockery)
           To crunch= to break noisily

              To sizzle= to make

       a hissing sound, like frying


                    To grind one's teeth

                   To whistle
                              To snore
     To wail= to express sorrow with a long cry ...
       To moan= a low sad or miserable cry...

                   To groan= to make

              a low, mournful sound.


    The vocabulary expressing  metallic sounds is extremely varied: To rattle, to clang, to crash, to jangle, to jingle, to clunk, to rumble. You need a good dictionary to explain and choose the particular meaning of each verb that you'd like to use.

    ... and, of course, there are the sounds made by water...

                      Lapping waves
                      To gurgle
                        A babbling brook

    Well, well !  That's a lot of difficult vocabulary ... I'm sorry ! You know, I've spared a lot of words which were not as used as those ones...  Will you pardon me? Good luck anyway!  

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    1. I don't like the ocean and its breakers ... I much prefer the lake where the waves peacefully.
    2. You know what? When entering, I saw Jackson at the manager's door... Has he told you anything about the future promotions?
    3. I can hear the meat on the barbecue... It makes my mouth water!
    4. 'When I was entering the house, I you speaking about my birthday party. Can you tell me, Mum?' 'Of course not! You nosy girl ....'
    My neighbour was ... I used to think that I needed a to be when talking to her. But now, she's been prescribed and she can even if you in her ear…
    6. No Lucy! I won't you... You're a real chatterbox and to survive, I'll have to ... Give me a break... I want you for, let's say... half an hour.


       The wolf is baying for blood

    End of the free exercise to learn English: Vocabulary: hearing, listening
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