Quick answer
"Darse cuenta" is an intransitive verb phrase which is often translated as "to realize", and "prestar atención" is an intransitive verb phrase which is often translated as "to pay attention". Learn more about the difference between "darse cuenta" and "prestar atención" below.
darse cuenta(
dahr
-
seh
 
kwehn
-
tah
)
An intransitive verb phrase is a phrase that combines a verb with a preposition or other particle and does not require a direct object (e.g. Everybody please stand up.).
intransitive verb phrase
1. (often used with "de")
a. to realize
Me acabo de dar cuenta de que no tengo las llaves del carro.I just realized I don't have my car keys.
b. to realise (United Kingdom)
Al llegar al aeropuerto, Sonia se dio cuenta de que había dejado su pasaporte en casa.When she got to the airport, Sonia realised she'd left her passport at home.
c. to notice
Está cayendo agua del inodoro. - ¡Ups! No me había dado cuenta.The toilet is leaking. - Oops! I hadn't noticed.
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prestar atención(
prehs
-
tahr
 
ah
-
tehn
-
syohn
)
An intransitive verb phrase is a phrase that combines a verb with a preposition or other particle and does not require a direct object (e.g. Everybody please stand up.).
intransitive verb phrase
1. (general)
a. to pay attention
Es importante prestar atención a lo que comemos y a las calorías que consumimos.It's important to pay attention to what we eat and to the calories we consume.
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