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Hear of vs. Hear About: What's the Difference and How to Use Them Correctly

As a language teacher, I often come across students who struggle to differentiate between the phrasal verbs "hear of" and "hear about". Though these two terms may seem similar, they have slightly different meanings and can be used in different contexts. Are you studying English? Sign up for my courses and boost your language learning!

Hear of vs. Hear About

Hearing of something means that you are aware of its existence or that it is in the public consciousness. For example, "I have heard of the Eiffel Tower" implies that the speaker is aware of the tower's existence, but may not have visited it personally.

On the other hand, hearing about something means that you have received information or heard news about something from someone else. For instance, "I heard about the Eiffel Tower from a friend who recently visited Paris" implies that the speaker received information about the tower from someone else.

Let me illustrate this with a personal anecdote. Years ago, I visited Japan for the first time and had an amazing time. When I returned to my classroom, my students were curious about my trip and asked me several questions about it. One student asked, "Have you ever heard of Mount Fuji?" I replied, "Yes, I have heard of Mount Fuji. It's a famous mountain in Japan." This response simply indicated that I was aware of the existence of Mount Fuji.

Another student then asked me, "Did you hear about the earthquake that happened in Japan last month?" I responded, "Yes, I did hear about the earthquake. It was all over the news." This response conveyed that I had received information about the earthquake from some external source.

Ok, so now that you have a good idea of the differences, let's take a look at some examples of hear of vs. hear about:

"Hear of" is used when we become aware of something or someone, usually through word of mouth or other sources.

  1. I heard of a new restaurant that just opened in town.

  2. Have you ever heard of the famous musician, John Smith?

  3. She hadn't heard of the recent changes in company policy.

  4. I heard of an interesting book that you might enjoy reading.

  5. He was excited when he heard of the scholarship opportunity available for international students.

"Hear about" is used when we receive information or news about a particular event, incident, or topic.

  1. Did you hear about the new movie that was released?

  2. I heard about the party happening next weekend.

  3. Have you heard about the latest advancements in technology?

  4. She heard about the cancellation of the flight on the news.

  5. I heard about the amazing vacation destination from my friends.

Both "hear of" and "hear about" convey the idea of receiving information, but "hear of" emphasizes becoming aware of someone or something, while "hear about" emphasizes receiving news or information about an event or topic.

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