Hi there! I've just recently started teaching myself spanish, and I was curious; what mistakes do you often see people learning Spanish make? Thank you!
Well, there are so many kinds of mistakes.
I think the most common mistake of all time is to forget if a word is feminine or masculine. But I understand this can be difficult and even advanced students still get some words wrong, but they correct themselves right away.
Related to that, adjectives also have gender and number. Remember the adjective goes after the noun, most of the time.
And… articles, and possessive adjectives also have gender and number.
Articles: un, una, unos, unas (a, some); el, la, los, las (the).
Possessive adjectives: mi, mis, tu, tus, su, sus, nuestro/a, nuestros/as.
Remember the important thing here is the noun, and the adjectives, articles and possessive adjectives will change depending on the noun.
- Tengo una flor bonita. - I have a pretty flower.
- Tengo unas flores bonitas. - I have some pretty flowers.
- Mi amigo es simpático. - My friend is nice.
- Mis amigos son simpáticos. - My friends are nice.
The word problema. This word ends in “a” but it is a masculine word. So we say:
- el problema - the problem
- un problema - a problem
- muchos problemas - many problems
I made a post of the most common words that end in “a” but are masculine. here.
The word gente (people). In English the word “people” is plural, but in Spanish “gente” is feminine and singular because we use it as a group of people. So we say:
- la gente - the people
- mucha gente - many people
- poca gente - few people
I also made a post about this here. :)
Remember it is:
¿Cuál es tu nombre? - What is your name?
And not: ¿Qué es tu nombre? (X)
In English, when you have two nouns you just put them together, as “action movie” or “orange juice”.
In Spanish we need de in between these two nouns. For example:
- película de acción - action movie (movie of action)
- jugo de naranja - orange juice (juice of orange)
- clase de piano - piano class (class of piano)
Also with people:
- el hermano de mi amiga - My friend’s brother (the brother of my friend)
- la madre de mi novio - My boyfriend’s mother (the mother of my boyfriend)
In English you can say “I eat breakfast” or “I have breakfast” but in Spanish we have a verb to say this, So we don’t need the verb “eat” or “have”.
desayunar: to have breakfast
- ¿Qué desayunaste? - What did you have for breakfast?
- Esta mañana desayuné huevos y jugo de naranja. - This morning I had eggs and orange juice for breakfast.
We also have:
- almorzar: to have lunch
- comer: to have lunch/dinner (In Spain and Latin America the main meal is in the afternoon, around 14:00 to 16:00)
- merendar: to have an afternoon snack
- cenar: to have dinner
Visit my post related to this.
Many students get confused by these pronouns because in English you say “at school” or “at the party” but a is not at.
We use a when someone or something is going/moving to somewhere.
We use en when someone or something is located somewhere.
a = to
en = in/on/at
So we say:
Hoy fui a la escuela. - Today I went to school.
Estoy en la escuela. - I’m at school.
Voy a ir a una fiesta. - I’m going to a party.
Hay mucha gente en la fiesta. - There are a lot of people at the party.
See my post about this.
Remember it is:
Gracias por _____ - Thank you for ___
Perdón por _____ - Sorry for ___
When we want to say that we like something, we always need an article before the noun.
- Me gusta el chocolate. - I like chocolate.
Me gusta chocolate (X)
- Me gustan las películas. - I like movies.
Me gusta películas (X)
Me gustan películas (X)
Remember “gusta” changes to “gustan” when the noun is plural.
When we want to talk about someone else’s likes. We use le.
le gusta / le gustan
And we also need A before the person that we are talking about:
- A ella le gusta el café - She likes coffee.
- A mi hermano le gustan los dinosaurios - My brother likes dinosaurs.
- A mi amigo le gusta el fútbol - My friend likes football
(I think I should make a post only for “gustar”)
These are Spanish words that look very similar to English words but have different meanings.
See the post here.
I don’t know why some beginner Spanish students just skip these verbs or they take too long to learn them. We use them all the time and knowing how Reflexive Verbs work will help you understand many common phrases as:
¿Me veo bien? - Do I look good?
Te quiero ver. - I want to see you.
Nos vamos a la playa. - We’re going to the beach.
¿Cómo se dice? - How do you say it?
I think that’s all for now!
People make all kinds of mistakes depending on their level and their first language. But these are the mistakes that I see repeating over and over again in all kinds of students.
However, don’t let mistakes stop you from talking. We can’t be perfect and we were not born knowing everything. And besides, people understand and they are glad to know you are making an effort learning their language.