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Ascoltare vs. Sentire

Do you know the difference between these two Italian verbs, ascoltare and sentire?

Sentire” means feeling / perceiving with your body, checking with your tactile sense, or hearing something for e brief moment, therefore you can “sentire freddo”, “sentire rabbia”, “sentire il battito del cuore”, but also randomly “sentire una canzone alla radio”.

When “sentire” is associated to the feelings of the body, we use the reflexive¬† verbs “sentirsi”:

Mi sento bene / male / pieno / stanco

Ti senti bene / male / …

Si sente bene / male

Ci sentiamo bene / male

Vi sentite bene / male

Si sentono bene / male

On the other hand, “ascoltare” is listening to an actual sound or to something with attention, which means “ascoltare una canzone” – the lyrics, music – , “ascoltare una conferenza”, etc.

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