For some months, we’ve been sharing with you some mistakes made by our students of Spanish on Spanishviaskype. From now on, we’ll change this section a little and we’ll focus on those frustrating errors that are so easy to understand but so difficult to get rid of them.
All of our students on our Spanish for different levels course can list some of these: ser and estar, por and para, indicativo and subjuntivo… We’ll deal with them too, but we’ll try to bring here vocabulary problems and curious confusions, too. Don’t forget to read until the end; you will find a little surprise.
1. Ser bueno vs estar bueno
At the first levels, teachers often explain the difference between ser and estar as a matter of a temporary or permanent state. That can work in general but it’s not a good explanation for higher levels. Ser bueno, if it’s referring to a person, can mean ‘to be a good person’ or ‘to be good at something’. However, estar bueno, can refer to a person who has recovered his or her health recently, but also ‘to be hot (sexually)’. So, be careful when you want to praise your boss, he or she can understand another thing.
For example: Mi doctor es muy bueno. Gracias a él, ahora estoy bueno. Además, está muy bueno y voy a pedirle su número de teléfono.
2. Está vs hay
This pair is the nightmare of A1 students. Both of them can express the location of a noun, but hay’s main meaning is the existence of something, introducing it to the receiver for the first time. Because of that, hay doesn’t allow the use of definite articles (el, la, los, las) unlike estar, which locates the noun that is known by the receiver.
For example: En mi casa hay tres habitaciones, una cocina y un baño. El baño está en la habitación de matrimonio.
3. Lo and la vs le
We come from a pair and we go to a trio. Direct and indirect object pronouns are very confusing for non romance language speakers. In Spanish, lo and la refer to the third singular masculine and femenine person as direct objects (veo un coche – lo veo; tengo una casa – la tengo). On the other hand, le is used for both genders (cuento la historia a mi amigo – le cuento la historia; regalé flores a mi novia – le regalé flores). It seems to be easy. Nevertheless, it’s very common to use le as a direct object. This mistake is so popular that nowadays is allowed to use it, only if you refer to a masculine direct object of a person or animate being.
For example: –Ayer vi a tu padre. –¿Sí? ¿Dónde lo viste. –Le vi en un restaurante.
4. Andar vs pasear
One day, on a Preparation for DELE exam lesson, a student told me that he usually went to work walking when there was too much traffic. The problem here is that he used the verb ‘pasear’ in Spanish (normalmente iba a trabajar paseando cuando había mucho tráfico). Obviously, this is not a grammatical mistake, but clearly, the student didn’t mean what he said. Pasear is walking for amusement or for doing exercise. However, andar is going to another place taking steps. So, be careful if you are late and you say to your boss as an excuse:
Lo siento, Sr. Sánchez, es que hay huelga de transporte público y he venido paseando. Mr Sánzhez’s anger may be the double.
Let’s see if you are able to find any mistake in the following sentences:
- Mi profesor en Spanishviaskype está bueno conmigo.
- En las clases de conversación, yo soy muy bueno.
- En España hay muchas comidas típicas. Por ejemplo, el mejor jamón hay en Extremadura.
- El examen DELE B1 le preparé en Spanishviaskype.
- Para relajarme, leo la cuenta de Spanishviaskype en Twitter mientras paseo.
Leave a comment with your answers at the bottom. You can also do it sending a tweet with the hastag #Spanisviaskype. But if you prefer to study these contents deeper, reserve a free trial lesson here and start learning Spanish via Skype.