How would you say "to catch your eye" as in, for example, "the painting catches your eye"? There are various suggestions in the Word Reference forum, such as "algo que te sorprende" or "llamar la atención", but I'm not sure which to use - it may not even be either of these.

  • 1
    Could you provide a link? I would say that "Algo que te sorprende" would be more in the case where something seems off or out of place. "El cuadro llama la atención" or "el cuadro te llama la atención" seems to fit much better. May 1, 2017 at 3:00

1 Answer 1


The expression llamar(le) la atención is a good equivalent for to catch one's eye. To specify whose eye something catches, though, you'll need to use an indirect object:

The painting caught his eye.
La pintura le llamó la atención.

Unless something catches my eye, I'm not going spend any money.
A menos que algo me llame la atención, no voy a gastar nada.

If you use it without the indirect object, you get something something more akin to the English to be eye-catching:

La torre de aquel castillo de verdad llama la atención, ¿no crees?
That castle's tower really is eye-catching, wouldn't you say?

  • eye-catching es llamativo. En tu último ejemplo basta con poner la torre de aquel castillo es [adverbio] llamativa. Creo que la omisión del objeto indirecto puede aplicar al discurso, pero en la escritura no debe ser omitido para evitar ambigüedades.
    – Schwale
    May 1, 2017 at 1:23
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    @Ustanak claro que al ir del inglés eye-catching al castellano se puede acabar con llamativo ...solo quería mencionar el ir de castellano a inglés para demostrar el efecto de la omisión del objeto). May 1, 2017 at 1:27
  • Without an indirect object you can also use captar (su) atención, although it does feel a bit like a clumsy calque from English.
    – pablodf76
    May 1, 2017 at 2:11
  • I don't believe the OP meant that the painting caught a particular person's eye. If he had, I imagine he would have written something like "That painting really caught your eye, didn't it?". I take "The painting catches your eye" to mean that it catches one's eye. The last part of your answer gets nicely to this. May 1, 2017 at 2:58
  • @aparente001 I suppose it depends a bit on whether the you is a general you or a specific. I read it as specific, but you make a good point that it could be the generic as well (in which case, as you say, an IO would be inappropriate) May 1, 2017 at 3:00

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