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Quick answer
"Observe" is a transitive verb which is often translated as "observar", and "look at" is a transitive verb phrase which is often translated as "mirar". Learn more about the difference between "observe" and "look at" below.
observe(
uhb
-
zuhrv
)
A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object (e.g. I bought a book.).
1. (to watch)
a. observar
This is a chance to observe these rare animals in their natural habitat.Esta es una oportunidad de observar estos animales poco comunes en su hábitat natural.
2. (to keep under observation)
a. vigilar
The secret services were observing what went on at the embassy.Los servicios secretos estaban vigilando lo que pasaba en la embajada.
b. observar
We observe the children in the classroom and monitor their progress.Observamos a los niños en el aula y seguimos sus progresos.
3. (to notice)
a. observar
I observed how he captured the audience's attention.Observé cómo captaba la atención del público.
b. ver
Did you observe him leaving the house?¿Lo viste salir de la casa?
4. (to comment)
a. observar
"That is not strictly true," she observed."Eso no es del todo cierto", observó.
5. (to abide by)
a. observar
When you join the club, you agree to observe the rules.Cuando te haces socio del club, te comprometes a observar las reglas.
b. respetar
I refuse to observe a law I do not agree with.Me niego a respetar una ley con la cual no estoy de acuerdo.
c. cumplir
Although the law was passed, it has never been observed.Aunque aprobaron la ley, nunca se cumplió.
d. acatar
The guidelines set out several principles which need to be observed.En las pautas se exponen varios principios que es necesario acatar.
e. guardar
We shall now observe a minute's silence in memory of the victims.Ahora guardaremos un minuto de silencio en memoria de las víctimas.
6. (to celebrate)
a. celebrar
Buddhists do not observe Christmas.Los budistas no celebran la Navidad.
An intransitive verb is one that does not require a direct object (e.g. The man sneezed.).
7. (to watch)
a. observar
We were asked to observe, without commenting.Se nos pidió observar sin comentar.
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look at(
look
 
aht
)
A transitive verb phrase is a phrase that combines a verb with a preposition or other particle and requires a direct object (e.g. Take out the trash.).
transitive verb phrase
1. (to observe)
a. mirar
Look at the moon. It's so beautiful tonight.Mira la luna. Es tan hermosa esta noche.
2. (to consider)
a. considerar
We plan to look at three options before making a decision.Planeamos considerar tres opciones antes de tomar una decisión.
b. estudiar
You'll need to look at the problem from different points of view in order to come up with the best solution.Tendrás que estudiar el problema desde diferentes puntos de vista con el fin de llegar a la mejor solución.
c. enfocar
Did you do well in the contest? - That depends on how you look at it.¿Tuviste éxito en el concurso? - Eso depende de cómo lo enfocas.
d. mirar
You should look at the problem from her point of view.Deberías mirar el problema desde su perspectiva.
3. (to check)
a. examinar
The nurse went to look at Dr. Sergio's patient.La enfermera fue a revisar el paciente del Dr. Sergio.
b. revisar
My mechanic looked at my car, but couldn't find anything wrong with it.Mi mecánico revisó el coche, pero no pudo encontrar nada malo.
4. (to contemplate)
a. calcular
How much does it cost to study here? - You're looking at close to $10,000 pesos per month on average.¿Cuánto cuesta estudiar aquí? - Calculo que será cerca de $10,000 pesos por mes en promedio.
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