Common mistakes made by our studentsFootball World Cup 2018 has just finished and now we have a new campeón (champion): France. Felicidades (congratulations) to our neighbours.

This championship will go down to history not only for its unpredictability (many of the most powerful national teams were eliminated during the first rounds) but also for the goalkeepers’ mistakes: David de Gea from Spain, the Argentinian Willy Caballero, Fernando Muslera with Uruguay or the French champion, Hugo Lloris in the final game.

Mistakes of the month

At we know that mistakes are forgiveable, that is why we are here. Today, we’ll review some mistakes made by our students.

A mi trabajo tengo reuniones …  – incorrecto
En mi trabajo tengo reuniones …  – correcto
(I have meetings at my work)

This is a A2 level student’s mistake. Prepositions of place are not easy to learn in Spanish. Due to the interferences with other languages, they are mixed-up. The preposition ‘a’ is rarely used to express location (Me senté a la mesa). The original usage is to express directions, so that, it implies a movement (Voy a Madrid). It is also very used with time expressions (Tengo una reunión a las seis). The standard preposition used to express location is ‘en’ (Estoy en casa; ponlo en la mesa; estudio en la universidad).

Tenemos la capaz de hacer estos cambios.  – incorrecto
Tenemos la capacidad de hacer estos cambios.  – correcto
Somos capaces de hacer estos cambios.  – correcto
(We are able to do these changes)

It’s a mistake from a B1 student. In many languages, there are some verbs that require a noun (transitive verbs) or an adjective (attributive verbs) to be formed. The verb ‘tener’ is a typical transtitive verb (Tengo una casa; tenemos problemas). On the other hand, the verb ‘ser’ is the main attributive one (Soy feliz; soy alto). ‘Capaz’ is the adjective for the noun ‘capacidad’.

También en Israel no lo hay.  – incorrecto
Tampoco en Israel no lo hay.  – incorrecto
Tampoco en Israel lo hay.  – correcto
(There is not in Israel either)

Negative words are a nightmare for basic levels. ‘También’ is an affirmative adverb that we use to add an idea or agree with a statement (Hay españoles, pero también ingleses; ¿Crees que va a llover? Yo, también). However, ‘tampoco’ is the other side. It’s used as a negative adverb to add the lack of something or agree with a negative statement (No hay leche y tampoco zumo; yo tampoco creo que el español sea difícil). Actually, tampoco makes the statement negative. Nevertheless, in Spanish, if we are introducing a negative sentenece, we need to do it with a negative word before the verb; it could be ‘no’ or another: No tengo un coche tampoco; tampoco tengo un coche. Therefore, if I use ‘tampoco’ in front of the sentence, I cannot use ‘no’.

Si te vayas en verano, lleva ropa ligera.  – incorrecto
Si te vas en verano, lleva ropa ligera.  – correcto
Si te fueras en verano, lleva ropa ligera.  – correcto
(If you leave / leaved in summer, take light clothing with you).

A B2 student said that sentence; a conditional clause and an advise in imperative form. Clearly, the speaker tried to stress the idea of improbability in the subordinative clause with that present subjunctive verb (‘vayas’). The problem is that we don’t use that tense with conditional clauses introduced by ‘si’. If you think the action is likely to happen, just use the present indicative (‘vas’). On the other hand, if it’s uncertain, use the imperfect (‘fueras’).

There’s a popular concept in football world: la soledad del portero (the goalkeeper’s solitude). This is because that player is alone at the goal waiting for the striker’s attacks. That lack of tension during some parts of the game makes him lost his concentration and fail. On we will never leave you alone with your doubts or mistakes. If you want to check it, try a free trial lesson via Skype here.