Mistakes made by students AugustSpain in August is like a bear hibernating. Waiting time, excuses and mistakes are forgiven mercifully. All of us understand that companies aren’t working full out during this month.

However, www.spanishviaskype.com are not going to miss our appointment with our readers and students these weeks. We’re going back to one of your favourite sections today.

Mistakes of the month

Niego trabajar mañana…  – incorrecto
Me niego a trabajar mañana…  – correcto
(I refuse to work tomorrow)

This was a B2 level student’s mistake. The verb ‘negarhas two constructions. The first one is transitive, ‘negar algo’ (‘deny’ in English): El acusado negó las acusaciones contra él. The second one is pronominal, ‘negarse a algo’ (‘refuse’): El acusado se negó a declarar ante el juez.  

El niño quería parecer un cantante canadiense: Justin Bieber – incorrecto
El niño quería parecerse a un cantante canadiense: Justin Bieber.  – correcto
(The kid wanted to look like a Canadian singer:Justin Bieber)

It’s a mistake from a B1 student. The verb ‘parecer’ is another confusing verb for our students. When is used as an attributive verb, we don’t mean that the similarity is with a specific person or thing but with general features: mi padre parece un jugador de baloncesto (he’s very tall and people could think that he actually plays basketball). On the other hand, ‘parecerse a algo or a alguien’ refers to a specific person or object: mi padre se parece a un jugador de baloncesto (the logical following question should be: really? Who’s that player?).

Te he repetido varias veces que no juegas con el portátil.  – incorrecto
Te he repetido varias veces que no juegues con el portátil.  – correcto
(I repeated several times to you not to play with the laptop)

This C1 student missed the usage of the subjunctive in this sentence. Actually, both sentences have sense in Spanish but with different meanings. The one with the indicative form (‘juegas’) only inform us about a fact, you don’t play with the computer, it’s not something you usually do. However, the subjunctive one (‘juegues’) expresses an influence on the other person. I said many times that you are not allowed to play with the computer.

Creo que en tu región hace mucho buen tiempo.  – incorrecto
Creo que en tu región hace muy buen tiempo.  – correcto
(I think in your región it’s very good weather)

An A2 student said that sentence. ‘Muy’ is an adverb and may complement an adjective or another adverb (mi casa es muy bonita / mi casa está muy cerca), whereas, ‘mucho/a’ is an adjective and may complement a noun (mi casa tiene muchas habitaciones). The usage of ‘mucho’ with ‘tiempo’ would be correct if this noun had the meaning of ‘time’ (hace mucho tiempo que no veo a mis amigos).

As Spaniards have more mercy to mistakes in August, we hope you’ll be merciful to our mistakes, too, and if you don’t want to make them ever, reserve a lesson on our Spanish for different levels course. If it’s your first visit, don’t worry, try a free trial lesson here. We are still working in August via Skype.