Hey all! I am an American living in Spain. Sometimes my Spanish friends want to practice their English with me. Sometimes Spanish-speaking students book classes with me on here. I also teach English classes in-person here in Spain. In these past few years, I've gathered a few common mistakes I see a lot of Spanish-speakers make.
This short list isn't meant to pick on this group. It's just that between me speaking Spanish and having lots of experience with this group, I can see why these errors are made and what you can do to stop them. Alright here goes:
- Pronouncing the s in island. It's completely, 100% silent.
- Saying "no is" instead of "is not." I know that in Spanish, you would say "la manzana no es azul." It can be tempting to do the same in English, but it is grammatically incorrect.
- Trip and travel. In Spanish, the verb for travel is viajar, and a vacation or trip is "un viaje." So I will hear Spanish-speakers refer to their recent trip or vacation as a travel. For example, "My travel to New York was a lot of fun." That is incorrect. Use the words trip, vacation or holiday.
- "You have reason." In Spanish, you say "tienes razón." So a lot of Spanish-speakers want to directly translate that to English and say "you have reason." We do not say that in English. Instead the correct way to say it is "you're right."
- The confusion between have to to be for age. This is one that I see children and beginners make. However it's still important to note. In Spanish, you use tener for age. "Tengo 31 años." However in English, I would say "I'm 31 years old." So just remember to use the verb to be. I remember learning this same exact thing for Spanish, but in reverse.
- Questions. In Spanish, all you have to do is change the inflection of a statement to make it a question. You just change your voice slightly at the end. However in English, you have to change the wording just a bit. Example: in Spanish, it's "tienes una manzana" y "tienes una manzana?" However in English, it's "You have an apple" and "Do you have an apple?" I will hear Spanish speakers try to ask questions in English by just changing the inflection at the end. Depending on the subject matter, that to us comes across as if you are assuming something rather than asking. For example, a Spanish friend last night was commenting that I haven't picked up an accent where I live. He goes "maybe you haven't met many people from here." I kind of got offended at first like "Please don't assume I have no Spanish friends. That's false. Ask me first." Then I thought "You know he probably just tried to make that a question and should have said 'have you met with a lot of people from here?" Anyway, I wanted to note this one since you don't want to offend anyone by accidentally assuming something when you just wanted to ask a question.
Alright those are a few I can think of for now. English teachers or Spanish-speakers learning English, what are some other common errors you see? Also Spanish teachers on here, I'd love to hear what mistakes us English-speakers commonly make in Spanish. Feel free to comment here or start a new discussion!