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Thread: Seek vs. search

  1. #1
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    Seek vs. search

    Hello, friends.
    I see in this forum and many other boards, that people use words seeking and searching, when they want to find out something.
    I was wondering, what is the difference between seeking and searching. In my opinion, you can search for a man (human), an object, other stuff. And you can seek for a help, a favour, an idea and other things that you cannot touch or see. Am I right?

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    Re: Seek vs. search

    You search a place and search for something in a place.
    You seek answers for your questions, different information, a place to work or a place to live.

    Вот как-то так. Если что, поправят.
    «И всё, что сейчас происходит внутре — тоже является частью вселенной».

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    Re: Seek vs. search

    Hm. What an interesting question. Let's start with the basics. If I don't know where my wallet is, the following sentences are possible:

    I'm looking for my wallet.
    I'm searching for my wallet.
    I'm seeking my wallet.

    In that sense, "looking for" is the most normal thing to say. "Searching for" sounds fine. It is somewhat less conversational. "Seeking" sounds old-fashioned.

    If I don't know where to send my annual tax forms, the following are possible:

    I'm trying to find out where to send my tax forms.
    I'm looking for the address that I should send my tax forms to.
    I'm searching for the address that I should send my tax forms to.
    I'm seeking the address that I should send my tax forms to.

    The "trying to find out" phrase sounds the most normal. The "looking for" phrase sounds fine. The "searching for" phrase sounds slightly dramatic, but perfectly grammatical. The "seeking" phrase sounds old-fashioned.

    If I'm in a disco, and I can't find my girlfriend, the following are possible:

    I'm trying to find my girlfriend.
    I'm looking for my girlfriend.
    I'm trying to run down my girlfriend.
    I'm searching for my girlfriend.
    I'm seeking my girlfriend.

    The first three sound normal, although the third one is potentially ambiguous. It can also mean "I'm trying to run my girlfriend over with a car." That meaning, however, is not the first one that comes to mind upon hearing the sentence. The "searching" phrase sounds okay, although perhaps slightly formal or pedantic. The "seeking" phrase is grammatically fine, but one thinks that the speaker either reads too much literature or perhaps plays too many role-playing games.

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    Re: Seek vs. search

    The two words are basically the same, but they are not totally interchangeable in use. For one thing "seek" is in a higher register of the language, much more formal except for some extremly standard phrases - for example ICQ (I seek you), the game Hide and seek.

    If you want to know the difference just ask Mr. Google, then analyze all the contexts in which you find it and compare against contexts with "search".

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    Re: Seek vs. search

    Thanks. I've asked Google and have analyzed its response (first 10 items). And I looked through the Google dictionary http://www.google.ru/dictionary?langpair=en|en&q=search. Here are results of my research. Google says, that most English people usually seek (by popularity):
    • 1 - most popular) a place;
      2) a work;
      3) help;
      4) to do sth.

    Most English people usually search:
    • 1) for information;
      2) -

    Unfortunately, Google doesn't know any other things to search for...

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    Re: Seek vs. search

    I keep misplacing them and find myself constantly searching for my glasses!

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