Olhar vs ver - what is the difference?

I’m having some trouble determining when to use olhar and ver. One of the review flash cards is “Nós olhamos para o homem” and another is “Nós vemos o jogo”. I know the first means “look at” and the other means “watch”. Other than that (and that they both sorta mean “see”), what is the difference?

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My understanding is, as you have also already said, is that

  • olhar = to look
  • ver = to see / to watch

So olhar is “just” the action of looking at something, whereas ver implies either more scrutiny or actually understanding of what it is you’re seeing. So a bit like the difference between falar and dizer.


@Tomas explained it quite well :slight_smile:


So if I’m in a store and the attendant asks if I need help, should I reply with

Estou só a ver


Estou só a olhar

@pwsteele, both would be acceptable, but we tend to prefer ver in that context :slight_smile: