Using the imperative of mirar/oír with specific meanings -irony, attention, supposition

The imperative forms of mirar and oír are sometimes used in a context that does not express a command. T

Mira, mirad, mire, miren

1. To call someone's attention; the speaker wants the listener/s to pay attention to what s/he has to say.

For example:

Mira, creo que deberías calmarte porque estás muy agitado.Look, I think you should calm down because you are very worked up.

Miren, yo no sé lo que les habrán dicho, pero aquí no podemos hacer devoluciones sin el ticket de compra.Look, I don't know what you may have been told, but here we cannot give refunds without the receipt.

2. To express irony and surprise, very often using pronouns.

For example:

Después de decirme que mi hija era floja, mira tú, ahora su hijo se levanta todos los días a las 11. After telling me that my daughter was lazy, wouldn't you know it, now her son gets up at 11 everyday.

Me estaba aburriendo un montón, pero mira, al llegar Cristina todo se animó bastante y me quedé un rato más.I was getting really bored, but funnily enough, when Cristina arrived everything livened up and I stayed a bit longer.

You may also find the phrase "mira (tú) por dónde", "mire (usted) por dónde" with the same meaning: 

Estaba agotado hasta ayer, pero mire (usted) por dónde, acaban de llegar artículos nuevos.It was out of stock until yesterday, but wouldn't you know it, we've just received new items.

Mira (tú) por dónde, por ahí va Ramón con su novia.What a surprise, there's Ramón with his girlfriend.

3. To express satisfaction, and sometimes irony too, we use "mira (tú) qué bien", "mire (usted) qué bien"...

-Mis hijos llegan el día 23. -Mira qué bien, vas a estar muy acompañada en las navidades.-My children are coming on the 23rd. -That's great, you are going to have lots of company this Christmas.

Mirad qué bien, ahora que habéis terminado los estudios, podréis viajar por Europa.It's great, now that you have all finished your studies, you'll be able to travel around Europe.

4. To highlight/emphasise something in the sentence we use:

mira/mire que + sentence

For example:

Mire que es tozudo, Manuel; le he dicho que hoy lo invito yo a desayunar.You are very stubborn, Manuel; I told you I would treat you to breakfast today. [you = usted]

Mira que te lo advertí; nunca me haces caso.I did tell you; you never pay attention to me.

This construction does not admit the plurals "mirad" or "miren" even when talking to more than one person; it uses the verb in singular:

Mira que sois tacaños, a ver si invitáis a una cerveza al menos.You are so stingy, it'd be nice if you bought us a beer at least.

not "mirad que ..."

Mire que son ustedes generosos; no me habían tratado así de bien desde hace mucho tiempo.You are very generous; I haven't been treated so well for a long time.

not "miren que ..."

 5. To express the supposition that something considered improbable may be happening using this construction:

mira/mire que si ... + sentence

For example:

¡Qué tarde es! ... y Marcos no ha llegado todavía ... Mira que si ha tenido un accidente ...It is so late! ... and Marcos hasn't arrived yet ... What if he's had an accident ...

¡Compruebe el número! Mire que si le ha tocado la lotería ...Check the lottery ticket! What if you've won the lottery ...

Oye, oíd, oiga, oigan

With the verb oír, there aren't as many different nuances as with the verb mirar; the verb is normally used on its own:

1. To call the attention of the person you want to say something to

Oye mamá, ¿qué vas a hacer de comer hoy?Hey mum, what are you making for lunch today?

Oiga, se le ha caído el guante.Excuse me, you dropped your glove.

Oíd, si no os calláis ya os quedáis sin merienda.Listen, if you don't shut up now you won't get a snack.

2. To express admiration

 
Oye, qué guapa estás con ese vestido.Hey, you look really pretty in that dress.
When the imperatives of mirar and oír are used this way the translations in English vary greatly as there is no specific way to express this in English.

 

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Examples and resources

Mira, creo que deberías calmarte porque estás muy agitado.Look, I think you should calm down because you are very worked up.
Mire que es tozudo, Manuel; le he dicho que hoy lo invito yo a desayunar.You are very stubborn, Manuel; I told you I would treat you to breakfast today. [you = usted]
Mirad qué bien, ahora que habéis terminado los estudios, podréis viajar por Europa.It's great, now that you have all finished your studies, you'll be able to travel around Europe.
Mira que sois tacaños, a ver si invitáis a una cerveza al menos.You are so stingy, it'd be nice if you bought us a beer at least.
Después de decirme que mi hija era floja, mira tú, ahora su hijo se levanta todos los días a las 11. After telling me that my daughter was lazy, wouldn't you know it, now her son gets up at 11 everyday.
Oíd, si no os calláis ya os quedáis sin merienda.Listen, if you don't shut up now you won't get a snack.
Estaba agotado hasta ayer, pero mire (usted) por dónde, acaban de llegar artículos nuevos.It was out of stock until yesterday, but wouldn't you know it, we've just received new items.
Mira (tú) por dónde, por ahí va Ramón con su novia.What a surprise, there's Ramón with his girlfriend.
Oiga, se le ha caído el guante.Excuse me, you dropped your glove.
¡Compruebe el número! Mire que si le ha tocado la lotería ...Check the lottery ticket! What if you've won the lottery ...
Me estaba aburriendo un montón, pero mira, al llegar Cristina todo se animó bastante y me quedé un rato más.I was getting really bored, but funnily enough, when Cristina arrived everything livened up and I stayed a bit longer.
Oye, qué guapa estás con ese vestido.Hey, you look really pretty in that dress.
Oye mamá, ¿qué vas a hacer de comer hoy?Hey mum, what are you making for lunch today?
¡Qué tarde es! ... y Marcos no ha llegado todavía ... Mira que si ha tenido un accidente ...It is so late! ... and Marcos hasn't arrived yet ... What if he's had an accident ...
Miren, yo no sé lo que les habrán dicho, pero aquí no podemos hacer devoluciones sin el ticket de compra.Look, I don't know what you may have been told, but here we cannot give refunds without the receipt.
-Mis hijos llegan el día 23. -Mira qué bien, vas a estar muy acompañada en las navidades.-My children are coming on the 23rd. -That's great, you are going to have lots of company this Christmas.
Mira que te lo advertí; nunca me haces caso.I did tell you; you never pay attention to me.
Mire que son ustedes generosos; no me habían tratado así de bien desde hace mucho tiempo.You are very generous; I haven't been treated so well for a long time.
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