“False friends” are words that sound similar in two languages but have different meanings. Here are five examples:
|Actualmente estamos trabajando en esto.||We are currently working on this.|
|Juan vive en California actualmente.||Juan currently lives in California.|
Actualmente does not mean actually, be careful with this! If we want to express the truth or facts of a situation, we should use de hecho (in fact) or realmente (in reality/in fact) instead:
|Actually, Peter is from Long Island.||De hecho, Peter es de Long Island.|
|Are you actually listening to me?||¿Me estás escuchando realmente?|
Numbers work differently in Spanish:
|Number||In English||In Spanish|
|10,000||Ten thousand||Diez mil|
|100,000||A hundred thousand||Cien mil|
|1,000,000||One million||Un millón|
|10,000,000||Ten million||Diez millones|
|100,000,000||One hundred million||Cien millones|
|1,000,000,000||One billion||Mil millones|
|10,000,000,000||Ten billion||Diez mil millones|
|100,000,000,000||One hundred billion||Cien mil millones|
|1,000,000,000,000||One trillion||Un billón|
Also, remember commas and periods are reversed in many Spanish speaking countries: One thousand: 1.000 (mil). One point five: 1,5 (uno coma cinco).
Carpeta does not mean carpet.
|¿Me puedes pasar esa carpeta?||Can you pass me that folder?|
|Había dos carpetas sobre la mesa.||There were two folders on the desk/table.|
So how do we say carpet in Spanish? We use a word that comes from Arabic: Alfombra.
|I should vacuum the carpet.||Debería aspirar la alfombra.|
|There’s a huge carpet in my living room.||Hay una alfombra enorme en mi sala.|
Emocionado, da (Excited; in some contexts, touched or emotionally moved)
Emocionado or emocionada does not mean emotional:
|Estoy muy emocionada.||I’m very excited.|
|Alberto estaba muy emocionado por su nuevo trabajo.||Alberto was very excited about his new job.|
Facultad (School or department inside a college, e.g. Law School)
This one is tricky, as both terms are used in an academic environment in both languages. However, they mean different things:
Faculty, in English, refers to the teaching staff at a college or department. The correct term for this in Spanish would be profesorado. The term facultad, in Spanish, refers to a specific department or school inside a college, and not to the professors teaching in it. In some contexts, it can also refer to the actual building that hosts said department or school.
|La Facultad de Derecho de la Universidad de Yale ofrece un curso sobre propiedad intelectual.||Yale Law School offers a course on intellectual property.|
|Me encontré a Silvia en la cafetería de la Facultad de Económicas.||I ran into Silvia in the coffee shop/cafeteria at the School of Economics.|