Ver vs Mirar: To SEE in Spanish, the difference explained

VER VS MIRAR: To SEE in Spanish, The Difference Explained

¿Qué hora es? ¿Puedes mirar la hora? 
(What time is it? Can you look at the time?)

No alcanzo a ver el reloj, no veo nada.
(I can’t manage to see the clock, I can’t see anything.)

¿Mirar o ver? (to look or to see). That is the dilemma. Do you want to know when to use each one of them? Alright

Entonces mira completa esta lección, la puedes ver en tu televisión, celular o computadora. (Then watch this full lesson, you can watch it on your TV, cellphone or computer.)

Chunks with “ver”

Ver, is an irregular verb in Spanish, and it would be the equivalent in English to the verb “to see” and implies the act to perceive things through your eyes. In this lesson, I will teach you in which situations to use el verbo ver (the verb ver) using some role-plays or specific chunks.

Seeing someone or something

Por cierto, ayer pasé por tu casa y vi a tu mamá.
(By the way, yesterday I passed by your house and saw your mom.)

Llegué tarde por eso ya no te vi.
(I arrived late, that is why I did not see you.)

No, a ti no te vi, pero vi a tu perro nuevo. 
(No, I didn’t see you, but I saw your new dog.)

To watch TV, movies, sports

Oye, ¿quieres ver una película?
(Hey, do you want to watch a movie?)

Depende, ¿Dónde la vas a ver?
(It depends, where do you want to watch it?)

No sé aún, pensaba verla en la televisión, o en el cine ¿que prefieres?
(I don’t know yet, I was thinking of watching it on TV or the movies, what would you prefer?)

Escoge tú y la vemos.
(You choose and we watch it.)

So, in this particular case, shall we say “Mirar la televisión” or “Ver la televisión”. If you have said any of these, no worries, both ways are accepted. However, mirar is the act of looking at the device and ver is the act of watching a TV show. 

Talking about visiting or meeting someone

Mis amigos, time to take note! I will give you some useful chunks you can use in your conversations right away.

  • ¡Nos vemos! (See you) 
  • Te veo al rato. (I will see you later)
  • ¿Te voy a ver a tu casa? (Should I come see you at your place?)
  • Vamos a ver a mi abuela. (Let’s go meet/see grandma.)
  • Al rato, mis amigos vendrán a verme. (Later, my friends will come to see me.)

Asking for advice on looks

Entonces, vamos al cine. Pensaba irme vestida así ¿cómo me veo?
(Then, let’s go to the movies. I was thinking of wearing this, how do I look?)

Yo te veo bien.
(You look good to me.)

To talk about future situations

Just like in English and to express: Let’s see…, we have the same chunks in Spanish. Por ejemplo (For example):

  • Vamos a ver qué pasa. (Let’s see what happens.)
  • Ya verás que decirle. (You will know what to say.)
  • ¡Llámale y dile! Él verá si va o no. (Call him and tell him! He will see if he goes or not.)

Note: They all use the verb ver in the future tense. If you want to learn about the future tense in Spanish, check out Mariana’s video about it. 

Chunks with “mirar”

We use mirar as a regular verb and in English will be similar to the use of the verbs “to watch” or “to look at” and implies the act of paying close attention to the details of something. You can use it this verb en situaciones como estas (in situations like these):

To pay attention to someone or something

In English, when we want to grab someone’s attention or pay attention to something, you would say: Look! Well, in Spanish for these expressions, we use the verb mirar, for example:

  • ¡Mira hacia arriba! Parece que va a llover. (Look up! It looks like it’s going to rain.)
  • ¡Mira ese perro! Tan lindo. (Look at that dog! So pretty.)
  • Mira las fotos de la fiesta de ayer. (Have a look at the pictures from yesterday’s party.)
  • Mira esto, ¿te gusta? (Look at this, do you like it?)

In all the examples, I am asking to direct your attention at something in particular like: hacia arriba, ese perro o las fotos (up, that dog or the pictures). So mainly, you would be using Mirar, when pointing out you want your listener to focus on

To ask for attention 

Mira esto, ¿qué piensas?
(Look at this, what do you think?)

¿Qué quieres que mire?
(What do you want me to look at?)

La cartelera del cine ¿Qué opinas?
(The movie showtimes, what do you think?)

Perfecto. Veamos la que inicia a las 6 pm.
(Perfect. Let’s watch the one starting at 6 pm.)

Va. Vamos a las 6 pm entonces.
(Alright. Let’s go at 6 pm then.)

Now, let’s do a quick quiz and see if you can master to differentiate when to use ver and mirar.


Fill in the blank with the correct answer, if you don’t know how to conjugate them yet, no worries, just try to choose between ver or mirar. 

  1. ____ a tu pareja ayer en el centro comercial. (I saw your partner yesterday at the mall.) Answer: Ví
  2. Hice la tarea, ¿puedes ____ (to look at) los ejercicios para ______(to see) si los hice bien? (I did my homework, can you have a look at the exercises to see if I did them correctly?) Answers: mirar/ver
  3. ¿No ____ que te está diciendo mentiras? (Don’t you see she is lying?) Answer: Ves
  4. Vamos a ___ a los abuelos. (Let’s see our grandparents.) Answer: ver
  5. ¡_____ mi vestido!, ¿te gusta como se me _____? (Look at my dress! Do you like how it looks on me?) Answer: mira

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