3 mistakes every Spanish learner make and how to solve them

Amigos,

Life is nothing but a series of mistakes. If you know what I mean.

Which you may not, so I should probably explain myself.

Let’s see. There’s no way we go through anything involving being alive without screwing up a little –or a lot– from time to time. Right? This is like a top 1 rule to living.

Same applies to learning a language.

Because we learn in the process of making mistakes. Over and over.

So, after this attempt of writing an optimistic introduction, we are now going to discuss a few common mistakes every Spanish learner make and how to solve them.

¿Listos?

1. Ser y estar no es lo mismo

I know you know. This is one of the first things every Spanish teacher teaches. BUT, still, confusing these two basic verbs is one of the most common mistakes all the learners make.

Let’s go through this quickly:

SER: to be -in English. Refers to permanent states or qualities.

Examples:

  1. La niña es rubia. (The girl is blong)
  2. Yo soy Gaby. (I am Gaby)
  3. Ellos son hermanos. (They are siblings)
  4. Nosotras somos mujeres. (We are women)
  5. Tú eres alto. ( You are tall)

ESTAR: also to be – in English. Refers to states or qualities in this moment.

Example:

  1. La niña está en la escuela. (The girl is at school)
  2. Yo estoy cansada. (I am tired)
  3. Ellos están jugando al fútbol. (They are playing)
  4. Nosotras estamos estudiando español. (We are studying Spanish)
  5. Tú estás esperando. (You are waiting)

I hear my students say things like:

Χ Ella está rubia. → ✓ Ella es rubia.

Χ Yo soy bien hoy. → ✓ Yo estoy bien hoy.

Χ Ya somos en casa. → ✓Ya estamos en casa.

Χ Estamos alemanes. → ✓ Somos alemanes.

Always ask yourself if the quality or state you are talking about is permanent (SER) or rather temporary (ESTAR).

2. Ir + A un lugar

This verb, to go (IR) can be used in Spanish with 3 different preposiciones: a, en or de. 

We use IR + A when we talk about going TO places.

IR A la playa.

IR A Madrid.

IR Al cine. (AL= A+EL)

IR Al supermercado. (AL= A+EL)

It souns kind of simple, but lots of learners tend to say IR EN, specially when they talk about cities or countries or geographic places in general. That is always wrong. Rember that IR A refers to directions.

This can help remember 😛

 

3.  Es frío vs Hace frío

Discussing the weather in Spanish might be a little bit complicated if you lack some knowledge. Specially because we don’t need the subject when talking about rain or hot weather and because we don’t use the equivalent to the verb to be.

While you would say It is cold today, in English.

In Spanish, we say: Hace frío hoy. o Hace calor.

I hear my students say things like Es frío hoy aquí o Está muy caliente. It makes sense because it is a direct translation from English, but it is not right.

The proper way to talk about the weather being cold or hot is by using this expression: Hace frío/Hace calor.

When you say: Es frío, you usually refer to something more general, like a country. Or a complete season.

Por ejemplo:

  1. Noruega es un país frío. 
  2. Tailandia es un país cálido. 
  3. El invierno en Valencia no es muy frío. 
  4. El verano en Alaska no es cálido.

Well, esto es todo amigos. For now.

If you are considering taking your Spanish to the next level, I can help you. You can have a Trial Class for Free so wen discuss specific ways for you to learn better and faster.

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