Summer starts tomorrow, officially. Nevertheless, some places in Spain have already suffered the first ola de calor (heat wave) of the year. Other regions, on the other hand, are afraid of not having a single ray of sun this year. Nunca llueve a gusto de todos (it never rains to everybody’s liking).
In our opinion, heat is not the most suitable circunstance for learning Spanish. Drops of sweat fall from your head, your hands are wet and thirst has an impact on your brain. In consequence, mistakes, errors and typos invade us. But don’t worry, if you learn Spanish via Skype with us, you will enjoy the comfort of your house: air conditioning, house clothes and, a cold beer, maybe?
Mistakes of June
However, some mistakes can be done, we’re human. Today we’ll keep showing you some of them we’ve been witnesses to.
Hay otra gente que se da igual… – incorrecto
Hay otra gente a la que le da igual … – correcto
(There are other people who don’t care)
This is a C1 level student’s mistake. Relative pronouns are never easy. When this pronoun (‘que’) is used as an indirect object, it must be preceded by the preposition ‘a’ and the pertinent article (‘la’ in this case because of gente’s gender).
No puedo recordar cual producto compré. – incorrecto
No puedo recordar qué producto compré. – correcto
(I can’t remember what product I bought)
This is what a B2 level student wrote. Que vs cual or qué vs cuál? What a mess! Remember that we need cual when we select an option from a closed list. On the other hand, we use que when the options are open. However, every rule has an exception. If we have a noun (producto) immediately after the pronoun, we must use que in any case. The second mistake is the usage of la tilde (acute acent). If the pronoun is interrogative we must use it. Qué is introducing an indirect question.
Jeddah no está tan abierta como Madrid. – incorrecto
Jeddah no es tan abierta como Madrid. – correcto
(Jeddah is not so open-minded as Madrid is)
Good example for an A2 level speaker. Ser and estar are always fighting each other. The option with estar could be right if our intention is to emphasize that Jeddah was more open in the past but not now; or maybe to highlight that this situation is just temporary. In spite of that, our student wanted to describe a usual feature of this city. So, he should have used ser.
Redactó la carta sin que nadie lo sabía. – incorrecto
Redactó la carta sin que nadie lo supiera. – correcto
(She wrote the letter without someone’s knowledge)
This mistake came from maybe our top level student. This usage of the subjunctive form is easy to learn but hard to understand. Actually we are in front of a negative expression that denies the information that comes. We have plenty of these forms: no creo que + subjunctive, no es porque + subjunctive, no hay nadie que + subjunctive… If you claim that the following information is false or it doesn’t exist we enter in the subjunctive world.
No matter if you, dear reader, are one of the students who made these mistakes at www.spanishviaskype.com. We are here to help you improve your Spanish level. If you want to master our grammar, don’t hesitate and reserve a free trial lesson here. Saber tus debilidades será tu fortaleza (knowing your weaknesses will be your strengh.