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5 common Spanish mistakes foreign language learners make

10/5/2016

This post highlights the 5 most common Spanish mistakes that foreign language learners make. If you are learning Spanish, you will possibly make some of the following mistakes. Learn from them and avoid repeating these mistakes. You can achieve this goal if you practice writing and speaking with Spanish speakers.

SER /ESTAR

This is one of the most common mistakes Spanish learners make. In Spanish different verbs are used to express “to be”. “Ser” is used to address a condition (the car is broken -> el coche está roto), while “estar” is used to address an essential quality (the car is red  -> el coche es rojo). Let’s see an example of this mistake:

English: I’m sad

            Incorrect: Soy triste

            Correct: Estoy triste (we are addressing a condition here)

sad and happy

NOUN-VERB CONCORDANCE

In Spanish, the nouns that refer to a collectivity are singular, therefore, the verb is also singular:

English: People in Spain are very kind

Incorrect: La gente en España son muy amables

Correct: La gente en España es muy amable

USE OF LIKE

The use of this verb in Spanish differs from English. Check this example:

English: I like black beer

Incorrect: Yo gusto la cerveza negra

Correct: A mí me gusta la cerveza

QUÉ / CUÁL

This is a typical mistake made by English speakers. Usually, they translate “what” to “qué” and “which” to “cuál”. But this is not a general rule and can lead to mistakes like this one:

English: What is your name?

Incorrect: ¿Qué es tu nombre?

Correct: ¿Cuál es tu nombre?

ACORDARSE / RECORDAR

These two verbs have a similar meaning, but they are used with different structures.

language brain

Recordar is a transitive verb and acordarse is intransitive. In short, If you want to say “I remember…something”, then, the structure for recorder is:

Recordar algo.

And for acordarse the structure is:

Acordarse de algo.

Let's see an example of this mistake:

English: Oscar didn't remember he had an appointment with the dentist

Incorrect: Oscar no se recordó de que tenía con el dentista

Correct: Oscar no se acordó de que tenía cita con el dentista