Quick answer
"Look back" is an intransitive verb phrase which is often translated as "mirar atrás", and "look forward" is an intransitive verb phrase which is often translated as "mirar hacia el futuro". Learn more about the difference between "look back" and "look forward" below.
look back
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. (to glance behind)
a. mirar atrás
Don't look back now; John's following us.No mires atrás; John nos está siguiendo.
b. mirar hacia atrás
I ran as fast as I could and didn't look back till I'd locked the garden gate behind me.Corrí tan rápido como pude y no miré hacia atrás hasta que hube cerrado con llave la puerta del jardín.
2. (to return someone's gaze; often used with "at")
a. devolver la mirada
I opened the door of the shed, looked in and was surprised to see two brown eyes looking back at me.Abrí la puerta del cobertizo, eché una mirada adentro y me quedé sorprendida al ver dos ojos marrones que me devolvían la mirada.
3. (to think back to the past)
a. mirar al pasado
You need to look forward, not back.Hay que mirar al futuro, no al pasado.
b. mirar atrás
When I look back, I realize how naive I was.Cuando miro atrás, me doy cuenta de lo ingenuo que era.
c. mirar hacia atrás
There's no point looking back; you can't change what's happened.De nada sirve mirar hacia atrás; es imposible cambiar lo ocurrido.
d. volver al pasado
It's pointless looking back; what's done is done.No vale la pena volver al pasado; lo hecho hecho está.
e.
This refers to an idiomatic word or phrase for which there is no word-for-word translation.
no direct translation
Looking back, I wish I'd realized how lucky I was to be married to Martin.Pensándolo ahora, ojalá me hubiera dado cuenta de lo afortunada que era de estar casada con Martin.
When I look back, I wonder how I never realized what Richard meant.Cuando pienso en aquellos días, me pregunto cómo puede ser que no entendiera lo que insinuaba Richard.
4. (to recall; used with "on" or "at")
a. recordar
I look back on that time at the farm with great affection.Recuerdo aquel tiempo en la granja con mucho cariño.
5. (to suffer a change of fortune)
a.
This refers to an idiomatic word or phrase for which there is no word-for-word translation.
no direct translation
Ten years ago, Daisy got a job designing fabrics, and she's never looked back since.Hace diez años, Daisy encontró un trabajo diseñando telas, y desde ese día las cosas le han ido muy bien.
When Emily came out of prison, she enrolled on a horticultural course and hasn't looked back.Cuando salió de la cárcel, Emily se matriculó en un curso de horticultura y desde entonces todo le ha ido sobre ruedas.
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look forward(
look
 
fawr
-
wuhrd
)
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. (to consider the future)
a. mirar hacia el futuro
There is no point dwelling on the past. We can only look forward now.No vale la pena pensar demasiado en el pasado. Solo podemos mirar hacia el futuro.
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