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I have done a homework. In the worksheet there are figures of two digital clocks. One is small and the other one is much bigger.

My teacher said the following sentences contextually are not correct. She gave a red cross mark for each.

大きい時計は読みやすいです。

小さい時計は読みにくいです。

But I also provided other options as follows and she gave me green marks that mean correct answers.

大きい時計は見やすいです。

小さい時計は見にくいです。

I am still confused why the first group using 読む is not contextually correct but the other one using 見る is correct. Do you have any idea? In my understanding, we read the clock and reading is a subset of seeing. Therefore if seeing is considered correct then reading must be also considered correct.

  • 時計を読みやすい (use of を) ~ maybe... you should ask your teacher what she meant with the red cross mark. – WKx Jun 2 '15 at 5:02
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    @WKx That needs to be 「は」. – l'électeur Jun 2 '15 at 5:08
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    When reading is a subset of seeing and seeing is correct, reading can still be incorrect if only another subset of seeing is correct. – user4092 Jun 2 '15 at 6:58
  • Good question; how exactly would we correctly distinguish between merely seeing a clock and actually reading the time it displays? (For example, a grandfather clock facing towards a wall is "easy to see" even if the actual time it displays isn't.) – GoBusto Jun 2 '15 at 8:36
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Although this seems so a subtle (non essential) problem that everyone understands what you mean, I might support your teacher in the following reasons.

As you stated in your question, reading is in the subset of seeing. In general context, however, you should use general terms. To love is a subset of to like. (Well, perhaps.) Do you feel like saying ''I love you'' to your colleagues as well as to your girl friend?

Secondly, we Japanese don't think that we can read a clock, but rather look at a clock and read off time from the clock. So, your teacher would accept

小さい時計の文字は、読みにくいです。

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