What is the difference between 'mirar' and 'ver'? I know they both mean 'to see' or 'to watch'.

I checked online but can't find anything that helps.

  • 5
    ¡Mira! ¿Qué ves? translates exactly to Look! What do you see? Mar 20, 2015 at 23:08
  • 1
    You can look without seeing, but can't see without looking...
    – Paul
    Aug 6, 2017 at 21:57
  • Creía que lo tenía todo claro hasta que escuché a unos mexicanos decir: "No se mira bien que digas eso", o "Este sweater se mira bien, verdad?"
    – Diego
    Jun 6, 2019 at 17:34

9 Answers 9


Just imagine that you were looking one of those "spot the 7 differences" pictures. You could say

Miré las dos imágenes por mucho tiempo, pero no vi las diferencias I looked at both images for a long time, but I did not see the differences

Mirar is "to look" and ver is "to see". Like the difference between "oir" and "escuchar" (or "hearing" and "listening") we could say that the difference is in how much do we really perceive. You could be staring at something, without really seeing or processing some of the details.

Think that

Puedes ver la diferencia (can you see the difference)

means "do you understand it? Do you understand what is the difference". While

Puedes mirar hacia aquí? (can you look here)

is just "point you eyes into this direction". Ver means you are perceiving more than Mirar. Also, you can command someone to look in a certain direction, but you can't command them to see. You can only inquire if they see (perceive) something.

  • Am I still in the Spanish stack exchange? This explanation was unexpectedly philosophical. Got me thinking of philosophical things and the movie Inception.
    – Tek
    Apr 1, 2015 at 17:20

"Ver" means "to see," but "mirar" means "to look at."

Se mira para ver. One looks in order to see.


Everyone's right, but also, in case it's of interest to anyone:

In Tijuana, and perhaps other parts of the NW border of Mexico and perhaps elsewhere, you often hear "Ayer te miré" or "Mañana te miro", both of which mean see, of course, and not look. This is a regionalism and I don't know if it exists elsewhere. It is NOT ported from any English-language expression like a lot of border Spanish is.


Maybe these examples will help you understand:


Mira cuánto dinero tengo.

¡Mira quien vino!

¡Mira lo que encontré!


Ya he visto tu trabajo y me parece bien

Ayer vi a tu hermana

¿Has visto la última película de Woody Allen?

  • I like the examples but can you tell when to use them?
    – Tia27
    Mar 20, 2015 at 19:29
  • 1
    In Spanish Ver is like look something but not in detail. "Percibir algo por el sentido de la vista". Mirar is when you look whit detail. "Fijar la vista en un objeto, aplicando juntamente la atención" Here is a better explanation is in Spanish, I hope this could answer your question [castellanoactual.com/duda-resuelta-ver-y-mirar/]
    – Marisol
    Mar 20, 2015 at 19:43

The broad differences are outlined above. One concrete example of the difference is that "mirar" is commonly used with "televisión" and "ver" goes with "película" (movie), in Colombia at least.

Couldn´t tell you why, maybe a statement about the level of intellectual engagement films demand of the viewer... whoever coined that never watched any Adam Sandler movies, or challenging TV like "Breaking Bad".

  • Mirar es algo que hacemos con nuestro cuerpo.
  • Ver es algo que pasa en nuestra mente.

Mirar solo es posible con cosas físicas, mientras que ver es algo que nos puede ocurrir tanto con lo físico como con lo inmaterial.

Se puede encontrar variación a lo largo y ancho del mundo hispano.


Ver = Apreciar algo a detalle.

Mirar = La simple acción de usar tus ojos.

Todos los días miras cosas, pero pocas veces ves cosas.

De cualquier forma, no te molestes en cual usar, las personas no le dan importancia a cosas así, como sea que lo uses es correcto,ya sea que uses "ver" o "mirar", la única diferencia entre ambos es la percepción y la atención que le prestas a algo.


I would say that in Spanish words nobody says "mirar la televisión". Well, maybe sometimes you can hear it, but it gives the idea that you're watching it but without paying attention:

—¿Qué estás haciendo?
—Nada, mirando la televisión ...

It gives the idea that you're watching it without really paying attention, that it is boring... But in normal use we always say "ver la televisión".

  • This could be a tiny bit helpful if you shared with us the country or region where "mirar la televisión" is not what's said, and if you shared with us what is said instead. Jun 7, 2019 at 1:05

From a grammatical point of view, ver is always followed by a direct object (the verb always refers to a person, place, thing, or idea), whereas mirar is never followed by a noun. (Example: Mira aquí! - Look here! ► 'aquí (here)' is an adverb describing 'Mira (look)').

  • 2
    I think it's wrong. Ej.: 'veamos unas fotos' / 'miremos unas fotos'. Both have direct object, both are right.
    – Rodrigo
    Jun 18, 2016 at 20:47

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