Watch in Spanish: Ver or Mirar

What is knowing a foreign language for you? Is it knowledge of grammar rules and the ability to do grammar exercises without mistakes? Is it having extensive vocabulary and awareness of numerous synonyms for every word you know? Or is it an ability to speak a colloquial language and communicate with native speakers but sacrifice some grammar and perhaps pronunciation? Well, if you ask us, knowing a language is more than everything we’ve just mentioned. You should not only boast great vocabulary, grammar, listening, and speaking skills but also “feel” the language you study. By this we mean your ability to choose the proper words in every speaking situation. For a person who studies a foreign language, it’s not a surprise that every language is full of words with similar meanings which still should be used in different contexts. Spanish isn’t an exception. So, if you’ve faced such situation again and haven’t figured out yet what exactly ver means and how to say watch in Spanish, this article will help you clear this confusion up.

There are two words in Spanish that students find challenging to differentiate – ver and mirar – and not without a reason. Although their meanings are different indeed and the words aren’t interchangeable, each of them has specific rules on application. Let’s start with the verb ver. The verb can be translated into English as to see and its first meaning is physical ability to perceive what surrounds you with your eyes. Here is an example to demonstrate this rule – Mi tío necesita gafas porque no ve bien. – My uncle needs glasses because he doesn’t see well. However, there are some more rules when ver should be used:

–          To express an action of watching a play, a movie, or a sports event. For example, Quiero ver “La isla” esta noche.- I want to watch “The Island” movie tonight.

–          To show understanding. In this case, the meaning of the verb ver is close to English “I see” – No veo lo que quieres decir.- I don’t understand (see) what you mean.

–          Ver can be used in the meaning of meet (again, like in English) – Es la tercera vez que voy a verlo. – It’s the third time I’m going to see him.

The verb mirar is translated into English to look or to watch, depending on the context it is used in, and as you can understand from translations, mirar means an intentional act of looking at something. For example: A mí me gusta mirar los pájaros en los árboles. – I like to watch the birds in the trees. Siempre debes mirar en ambas direcciones antes de cruzar la calle. – You should always look both ways before crossing the street.

If you need to indicate an orientation of an object, you should also use the verb mirar: El hotel mira al mar. – The hotel faces the sea.

We’d like to point out the phrase watching TV in Spanish separately since, believe it or not, as simple as it is, it is also a controversial one and often becomes a reason to argue. So how do you say watch TV in Spanish? Is it ver la televisión or mirar la televisión? Actually, people in Spanish-speaking communities do use both variants and whether you say ver or mirar, more likely, you’ll be understood. However, speaking of grammatical aspect of this phrase, ver la televisión is considered to be the right expression.

Well, these are the main differences between the verbs ver and mirar a person who studies Spanish as the second (or the third) language should know. However, theoretical knowledge isn’t enough and to use both words correctly, you will probably want to check what you’ve understood from this article. So, how do you say to watch in Spanish? Mirar is the right answer. What about to look? Mirar, again. What does ver mean in Spanish? It means to see. How do you say I see in Spanish? Veo (the proper form of the verb ver). Finally, what about watching TV in Spanish? How do you say I watch TV every day? Yes, you’re right, it is Veo la televisión todos los días. Of course, this short quiz isn’t enough to practice the difference between these words so that you start to “feel” them and choose each of them properly without thinking first. That’s why you might also be interested in looking for some exercises online and practise your Spanish more.