What is the difference between

Ich sehe fern.

Ich schaue fern.


Also can we formulate the following sentence with the verb fern/sehen instead?

Ich schaue Fußball nur im Fernsehen.


Schauen is Southern German. People in the north understand it but don't use it actively. The Northern/Central German expression is gucken (the initial g is spoken as k), it's not too common in the south.

Ansehen, angucken and anschauen are better alternatives for your example sentence:

Ich schaue (mir) Fußball nur im Fernsehen an.

Ich gucke (mir) Fußball nur im Fernsehen an.

Ich sehe (mir) Fußball nur im Fernsehen an.

The verb fernsehen does not have an accusative object, so it's no alternative for your example sentence.

  • 1
    For me "gucken" is also used often in southern germany. But this verb is only used in colloquial speech. – IQV Jan 18 '19 at 8:17
  • Dunno. I don't know anyone who would say "Ich gucke/schaue/sehe Fußball im Fernsehen an". Not one single person. And "sich etwas anschauen/ansehen" has the connotation of "taking a closer look", not just "watching" – Rudy Velthuis Jan 18 '19 at 8:19

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