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Heed vs attention

 

Hello,

 

could you explain please when do you use the word "heed" and when the word "attention"? What is the difference?

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You should TAKE heed of warnings. You should PAY attention to warnings. Means the same. Taking heed is less commonly used.

 

Thank very much MoiraWendy. If its not commonly used, I will simply avoid this word in my speech

A frequent difference is that "attention" refers to the act of closely observing or seeing, while "heed" adds the idea of following or obeying what you have seen or heard.   Example:  "I paid attention to what he was saying, but I didn't heed him."  This means you listened carefully to what he was saying, but you didn't do, follow, or obey what he said.

See an interesting graph of usage "attention" and "heed":

https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=attention%2C+heed&year_start=1800&year_end=2008&corpus=15&smoothing=3&share=&direct_url=t1%3B%2Cattention%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2Cheed%3B%2Cc0

 

 

  Heed is a verb.    Attention is a noun.

 

   Starting from there,  you can recognize that the words are not equivalent or interchangeable.

So the issue is not a choise  between using   HEED as an alternative to ATTENTION.

 

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according to the dictionary heed could be both noun and verb, depends on the context

 

Southern US Perspective:

 

"Heed" and "attention" have similar meanings when used as nouns, but the difference is that heed is sometimes used as a verb. Also, I should point out that the "heed" is not commonly used; the word sounds dated. It isn't archaic though, mind you.

 

examples: 

Pay attention, class!

The next assignment will require your full attention. 


Pay heed to the police officer's warnings.

If she heard, she paid no heed.

We must take heed of the suggestions.

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