"Podíval se na své ruce."
Translation:He took a look at his hands.
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I'm having trouble divining a difference in meaning in English between "He took a look at his hands" which is accepted and "He looked at his hands" which isn't. In terms of tense or ongoing activity I can't see any difference between those two sentences in English. Each of them is an event that happened once. He took a look perhaps implies a quicker glance, but then it doesn't accept "He glanced at his hands" either.