Mistakes made by studentsAño nuevo, vida nueva; That’s what we would like to happen: all our sins, forgiven, all our debts, paid and our brain, prepared not to make the same mistakes speaking Spanish again. However, this is real life and mistakes will come again. Nevertheless, don’t worry. At Spanishviaskype.com, our teachers will be ready to catch those errors and help you with them.

As we did last year, we will offer you curious and recurrent mistakes made by our students during their sessions. Remember that the problem is not to make a mistake but not to learn from them.

Mi marido me dijo que irá aquel día  – incorrecto
Mi marido me dijo que iría aquel día  – correcto
(My husband told me he would go that day)

Although the mistake comes from a student at B1 level, we usually study this grammar contents at B2. The student was reproducing her husband’s words in reported speech. When we do that, we should take the verbal tense a step backward, to the past. In order to express a subsequent action to another in the past, we use the conditional tense, that is a kind of “past of the future”.

Yo deseaba que (yo) volviera a casa – incorrecto
Yo deseaba volver a casa – correcto
(I wished to go back home)

It’s curious how, as long as we learn more complex contents, we can make basic mistakes. That’s the case of this student who forgot the easy construction of the verb querer + infinitive, when the wish is for the same person (quiero aprender español / mis amigos quieren aprender español). Before our student had learnt the uses of subjunctive, we are sure he wouldn’t have made this mistake.

Para el nuevo año voy a buscar un objetivo que es posible – incorrecto
Para el nuevo año voy a buscar un objetivo que sea posible – correcto
(For the new year, I’m going to look for a goal that is possible)

That’s a realistic resolution, but the goal that our student is looking for is not yet specific, because she’s not found it yet. When we use relative clauses (“que sea posible”), if the antecedent (“objetivo”) is not specific or doesn’t even exist, we need to use subjunctive in the subordinative clause. For example, no hay ningún sistema que funcione mejor que el de Spanishviaskype.com para aprender español.

Hay las uvas en el plato.incorrecto
Hay uvas en el plato – correcto
Las uvas están en el plato – correcto
(There are some grapes in the plate / The grapes are in the plate)

The student who said this sentence is at A1 level. The verb haber is used here to express the existence of something that is introduced in the conversation for the first time. So, that noun cannot be defined by an article, because it’s not known by the other speaker yet. So, no articles or undefinite articles (un/a) are possible. Then, when the noun has been introduced, we can use the verb estar to express the location of it. For example: en mi ciudad hay un aeropuerto. El aeropuerto está a 5 km de distancia.

From www.spanishviaskype.com, we can’t promise you that all your mistakes in Spanish will vanish, but we’ll offer all our experience to you in order to reduce them. If you want to try a free trial lesson, click here; that will not be a mistake, for sure.