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Common mistakes in Spanish

Most of the mistakes that Spanish language learners make can be eliminated with a little bit of caution. First of all, you need to be aware of the troublesome topics of Spanish so that you can learn how to dominate them.

In this lesson, we will review the essential topics which are causing troubles to Spanish learners. Some of them we already covered. Some are yet to come in later sections.

Wrongly using ser and estar

One of the most surprising things about Spanish is the fact that it has two verbs to express “to be”. Although it is true that some cases can be quite tricky, there is no need to feel too anxious about this topic. Because there are ways to understand which of the two to be verbs is the appropriate one for a specific situation. We devoted four lessons on this important topic of Spanish:

To be verb in Spanish: ser and estar

Use of estar for localization

Ser or estar?

Hay or estar?

Wrongly using “por” and “para”

Another classic topic which causes to make mistakes is the appropriate use of the prepositions por and para. The correct use of each preposition is discussed in lesson por or para?

Not knowing when to use which preposition

Using Spanish prepositions correctly is a very tough job to do.  There are so many things to take into consideration; therefore we dealt with them at separate places through the series of this course. You may find the related lessons in the following:

Prepositions for location

Por or para?

Verbs which are used with prepositions

Using false cognates

It is true that Spanish and English have so many words in common. Therefore it is easy to get trapped by the false cognates, otherwise known as false cognates. In lesson false friends, we covered the most essential Spanish and English false cognates so that you don’t use them incorrectly anymore.  

Wrongly using articles

Most of the time, you need to memorize the articles. In some cases, there are rules you need to know. Yet, in another cases, there are exceptions. You should be aware of them so that you can use the articles correctly. This topic is covered in nouns and gender in Spanish.

Wrongly using más for superlatives

When telling eldest/oldest, i.e. using superlatives for people, sometimes wrong sentences are made. For example; my eldest sister is in Spanish mi hermana mayor. Instead of it, sometimes the mistake of using mi hermana más vieja is made. This comes from not understanding the topic comparatives and superlatives that we will cover in later lessons.

Pronouncing the letter “h”

In Spanish, h is not pronounced. When reading something in Spanish, it is sometimes difficult to avoid these mistakes though. If you would like to review the basic rules of Spanish pronunciation here they are: Spanish Alphabet and Pronunciation Rules

Not understanding the importance of subjunctive mood

This is a more advanced topic which we deal with in later sections. For the time being, be aware that the subjunctive mood is much more important and frequent than it is in English. We deal with subjunctive in detail in this course:

Introduction to subjunctive

Present and Imperfect subjunctive

Present perfect and past perfect subjunctive

Indicative or subjunctive?

Wrongly using days of the week

Another point which is different than English is how days of the week are used in Spanish.

First of all, it is common practice to use days with definite articles, as we discussed in lesson numbers, days, months, seasons and also in adverbs of frequency. For example; “los viernes ceno con amigos” which means I have dinner with my friends on Fridays. Note that it is required to use “los”. Also note that no preposition like “on” is necessary to use with the name of the day, contrary to English.

Using wrong verb conjugations

One very difficult aspect of Spanish is its verb conjugations. Hence, there can be many possible mistakes that a student could make. Unfortunately you will need to invest some time to cope with this issue. Below you may find the lessons which are about verb conjugations.

Introduction to Spanish verbs

Present tense conjugations

Reflexive verb conjugations

Conjugation of verbs like gustar

You should visit the whole intermediate section as well. Because the majority of the topics in that section is related to verb conjugations.

Referring wrongly to body parts

While in English possessive adjectives are used with body parts, in Spanish definite articles are used for the same purpose.

Ignoring accents

Different from English, Spanish vowels can be written in accents. One needs to pay special attention for the correct writing.