Common Mistakes

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“Me gustan las manzanas. ¿A ti te gustan las manzanas?” / PUBLIC DOMAIN

Here are six common mistakes English native speakers keep making when speaking Spanish:

1. Not including the “personal a”.

As we know, whenever the grammatical object is a person (or a pet), we must use preposition a right before said object:

I call Mary.

Llamo Mary. Llamo a Mary.

I visited my parents in California.

Visité mis padres en California. Visité a mis padres en California.

I helped my sister.

Ayudé mi hermana. Ayudé a mi hermana.

I love my cat.

Amo mi gato. Amo a mi gato.

2. Using a instead of en when translating at from English.

Remember: At is always en in Spanish!

We sat down at the table.

Nos sentamos a en la mesa.

He works at a hospital.

Él trabaja a en un hospital.

Peter was at that party.

Peter estaba a en esa fiesta.

We were at the beach.

Estábamos a en la playa.

3. Using quedar instead of quedarse.

When translating to stay, we should always use quedarse, which is a reflexive verb.

I stayed at a very beautiful hotel in Cancún.

Me quedé en un hotel muy hermoso en Cancún.

I stayed at home.

Me quedé en casa.

4. Making nouns problema, programa and sistema feminine.

They are masculine!

I have a problem.

Tengo una un problema.

I like this program.

Me gusta esta este programa.

This system works very well.

Esta Este sistema funciona muy bien.

5. Using “preguntar por” or “pedir por” for asking for.

El verbo pedir nunca usa preposición.

I asked her for an apple.

Le pedí por una manzana.

I’ll ask you for the keys tomorrow.

Te pediré por las llaves mañana.

Mary asked me for a glass of water.

Mary me pidió por un vaso de agua.

I asked for a sign.

Pedí por una señal.

6. Translating gustar directly as to like, instead of “to please” or “to be pleasing”.

I like apples.

Yo gusto las manzanas. Me gustan las manzanas.

Do you like cats?

¿Tú gustas los gatos? ¿Te gustan los gatos?

I like you.

Te gusto. Me gustas.

Do you like me?

¿Me gustas? ¿Te gusto?


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