ID-10038502“No me realicé de que había perdido las llaves”, “Entré en el bar y pregunté por una cerveza”, “¿Tienes los billetes para el teatro?”, “Mi hermana más vieja vive en Berlín” or “Estoy en Barcelona por cinco semanas”. What do these sentences have in common? Take 5 minutes to read this post and you’ll find it out.

In our Spanish classes we listen very carefully to our students in order to correct their mistakes in grammar, vocabulary or pronunciation. We first send them the feedback during class (using the Skype chat) and after every lesson, we also email them a class report, pointing out all these issues highlighted in class. This allows our students to review their lesson and keep track of their progress.

In these class reports we have identified 10 mistakes that our English speakers students make very often. Let’s take a look at five of them:

1)   How would you translate “I didn’t realise that I had lost the keys”? Most of our English speakers students would say “No me realicé de que había perdido las llaves”, but this is wrong. The correct answer is “No me di cuenta de que había perdido las llaves”. The verb “To realise” means “darse cuenta” (note that we use the preposition “de” after the verb). In our language the verb “realizar” means “to carry out, execute, to make, to conduct”.

2)   If you are in Madrid hanging out with your friends on a Saturday night and you want  to know what they want to order, you should ask them “¿Qué queréis pedir?” instead of “¿Por qué queréis preguntar?”. We use the verb “preguntar” when we want to know something (Le pregunté cómo se llamaba / I asked him what was his name) and the verb “pedir” when we want to ask for something (I asked him for an aspirin / Le pedí una aspirina).

3)   What’s wrong in this sentence “¿Tienes los billetes para el teatro?” (“Do you have the theatre tickets?”. It’s easy: we use the word “billetes” for travel tickets and “entradas” for tickets to the theater or cinema or “espectáculos” (note that a showing in the cinema is the “el pase” or “la sesión” and a performance at the theatre is “la función”).

4)   “Mi hermana más vieja vive en Berlín” (My oldest sister lives in Berlin) and “Mi hijo más joven estudia Medicina” (My youngest son studies Medicine) are wrong. Do you know why? Because in Spanish we say “Mi hermana mayor vive en Berlín” and “Mi hijo menor/pequeño estudia Medicina”. Remember: we use the comparative adjectives “mayor” and “menor”.

5)   If we want to say in Spanish that we’ll stay in Barcelona for five weeks we should say “Me quedaré/Voy a estar en Barcelona cinco semanas” instead of “Estoy en Barcelona por cinco semanas” (I am in Barcelona for five weeks).

Here you have the righ sentences:

– No me di cuenta de que habías llegado a casa.

– ¿Qué queréis pedir? Cinco cervezas y tres vinos, por favor.

– ¿Has comprado ya las entradas del cine? La sesión empieza a las diez.

– Mi hermana mayor vive en París y mi hermana pequeña, en Londres.

– ¿Cuánto tiempo te quedarás en Sevilla? Me quedaré en Sevilla tres meses.

If you are an English speaker and you want to share with us other common mistakes in Spanish, go ahead. We’ll be pleased to read them!!