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Errare Humanum Est (III) (C1)

Mistakes of students in SpanishThis school year is coming to an end and it’s time to get your grades. Last weekend, many students at Spanishviaskype.com took their DELE exams, and, although they were well trained, the stress and the mental and physical demand of this exam had an impact on them.

Since we know that perfection doesn’t exist, we’ll go back to the series of articles where we show and explain some mistakes made by our students during their lessons. You can take a look at A1 level and  B1 level mistakes before keeping reading this article.

Today we’ll go further and we’ll correct C1 advanced level mistakes.

Supongo que conozcas a algún español…  – incorrecto
Supongo que conoces a algún español …  – correcto
(I guess you know some Spanish people)

Due to language transfers (Italian, for example), some students think that the verb suponer requires a subjunctive clause. Of course, suponer doesn’t mean certainty, but it’s close to other verbs of opinion such as creer or pensar. For the speaker, the clause is a fact in which he or she believes. That is why we use indicative.

Fue implicado en el asesinato de un menor – incorrecto
Estuvo implicado en el asesinato de un menor – correcto
(He was involved in the murder of a minor)

The passive voice in Spanish is a little bit more difficult than other languages. Apart from la pasiva refleja, a kind of reflexive pronominal construction, we can use the verbs ser and estar to express passive meanings. If we use ser we focus on the process of the action; on the other hand, estar highlights the state of the subject. In this example, the speaker’s intention is not talking about the process, how or who involved him, but the situation of the accused.

Me pidió si tuviera información – Incorrecto
Me preguntó si tenía información – Correcto
Me pidió que le diera información – Correcto
(He asked me to give him some information / He asked me if I had some information)

Here we have two for one. Pedir and preguntar are translated as ‘ask’ in English. Pedir is a synonym of ‘request’ but preguntar is similar to ‘inquire, making an interrogative sentence’. If we request something, we should use the subjunctive in the following clause because we express an influence over the other person. However, if we use preguntar, we only reproduce the words of someone else using the reported speech; therefore, we need indicative.

Perdona un momento, siento que venga alguien – Incorrecto
Perdona un momento, siento que viene alguien – Correcto
(Excuse me for a minute, I feel somebody is coming)

Advanced students of Spanish already know that the verbs which express feelings and emotions are followed by subjunctive. In spite of that, sentir can mean a perception, like hearing. In this case we use indicative.

Finally, with this article, we have dealt with some mistakes of all the main levels in the Spanish language. If you want to polish your skills, reserve a free trial lesson via Skype. Remember, the problem is not making mistakes, the problem is not correcting them.

By | 2018-05-22T15:13:58+00:00 mayo 23rd, 2018|C1, Pocket Grammar|Sin comentarios

About the Author:

I was born in Badajoz (Extremadura) and I currently live in Bilbao (Basque Country). I studied a Bachelor degree in Spanish Language and Literature and an International House degree as a qualified teacher of Teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language. I think languages are the key that opens the doors to new cultures and I love teaching mine.

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