Making mistakes when you are learning a language is totally normal, and mistakes are a way to learn. The problem is when you have a pattern of repeating the same mistakes over and over.
As a Spanish teacher I come across with a lot of different students, and funny enough most of them make the same mistakes, that is why I have decided called this post Spanish students common mistakes, as I thought I would put some of them in this blog so you can spot them. This blog is amazing :
-either if you are a beginner so you can be aware of these mistakes and avoid them form the beginning,
-or if you are a bit more advance and you might be making these mistakes but never really spot them, so pay special attention see if you make some of them and learn how to fix them.
Spanish students common mistakes
1-Plural nouns that they are really singular.
In Spanish we have several nouns, example
As you can see these words include more than one person, example familia (family) normally a familia has two, three or even more people on it, so when we use it we know we are talking about a group of people but as you can see grammatically is singular, it does not end in “-s” so we treat it as singular.
Verbs, adjectives… words that go with these words would be singular too.
Example: Mi familia es grande –> My family is big
#watchout : when I say mi familia es española – my family is Spanish. I am only talking about my family, I am not included in that group, it would be different if I said:
My familia y yo somos españoles. – My family and I are Spanish. When I become part of the group it becomes plural.
These two words are often confusing for Spanish students, I am going to give you a quick explanation, because I have already talked about it in another post, you can read more in depth grammar in this blog post –> https://spanishconnectionedinburgh.co.uk/when-to-use-que-and-cual-in-spanish/
Spanish students normally translated what as “qué” but sometimes it doesn’t work as that…
Like if I ask you: what are the options? You would translated this as “¿qué son las opciones?”
But in this case Spanish people use “¿cuáles son las opciones?”
In a nutshell, we use:
-a)qué: we use when
-we have the verb “ser” and we ask for a descriptions :
¿qué es eso? – what is that?
– we have another word and ask for information:
¿qué has hecho hoy?- what have you done today?
– we have a noun and we ask for choices :
¿qué libro vas a leer? – what book are you going to read?
-with the verb “ser” to ask for information:
¿cuál es tu número de teléfono? – what is your telephone number?
-with other verbs when we ask for choices:
¿cuál quieres? – which one do you want?
3- acordarse (de) and recordar.
In Spanish we have two ways to translate the English word remember:
-Acordarse de is reflexive, and we use it with the preposition:
Tengo que acordarme de comprar el regalo para Juan- I have to remember to buy the gift for Juan
-recordar, it is not reflexive and it does not have a preposition
Tengo que recordar comprar el regalo para Juan- I have to remember to buy the gift for Juan
As you can see these two verbs have the same meaning, the only thing, we need to keep on mind which one it the reflexive and has the preposition.
A typical sentences that students often mix up is:
I remember you.
In Spanish we could say:
Me acuerdo de ti o Te recuerdo
me recuerdo de ti. O te acuerdo
I remember your address, we can say:
Me acuerdo de tu dirección o Recuerdo tu dirección
me recuerdo tu dirección or acuerdo tu dirección
Sometimes when we use verbs that work that gustar, like doler, picar etc.
You tend to say
Me duele mi cabeza or mi cabeza duele
They are both wrong.
When we say me, we know it is something we are having, so we do not need to use mi (my) we would just say me duele la cabeza
One hundred is only one hundred when it is on its own. When it is followed by other numbers we say CIENTO, and we do not use “y” (and) in betweek
101 –> ciento uno not
ciento y uno
111 –> ciento once not
ciento y once
164 –> ciento sesenta y cuatro not
ciento y sesenta y cuatro in this case we have an “y” but because 64 has it, 64 is sesenta y cuatro.
know today’s blog is a bit longer than usual, and it might be easier if you watch in video format, you can do that here –>
I hope you enjoyed today’s blog and found it helpful. As usual I would love to hear from you:
-do you make, (or have you done) any of these mistakes when you speak Spanish?
-are you aware of any other Spanish students common mistakes?
I am looking forward to your comments.