Last week, a Spanish instructor sent me this email message:
“Patrick, I noticed that you send a lot of emails discussing mistakes that you have heard other English speakers make in Colombia who are learning Spanish. Since Spanish is not your first language, I am sure that you have made lots of mistakes in your journey to learn Spanish. Why don’t you share them with your readers?”
After reading that email, I decided to tell you about 3 mistakes that I used to always make when I first started learning Spanish.”
1. Mistakes with comparisons
When I first started learning Spanish, making comparisons and deciding when to use “que” vs. “de” use to cause me a lot of confusion. Here’s an example of a mistake that I would make:
Error: Hay más que 80 personas en la fiesta.
Corrección: Hay más de 80 personas en la fiesta.
There are more than 80 people in the party.
When making comparisons in Spanish that involve numbers, you should use “de.” If you are making
comparisons that do not involve numbers then it is correct to use “que.”
Mi cuñada come más que mi hermano.
My sister-in-law eats more than my brother.
2. Another error that I committed often as a beginner was using the verb “realizar” when I should have used “darse cuenta.” “Realizar” has two different meanings in Spanish:
a. to perform
b. to fulfill
But “realizar” does not mean “to realize” as in “we realized there was a problem.”
Error: Nos realizamos que había un problema.
Corrección: Nos dimos cuenta que había un problema.
3. Another error that I used to always make as a beginner was to confuse the verbs preguntar vs. pedir. Preguntar is used when you want to know something. Pedir is used when you want something.
I distinctly remember making this error when eating out with a friend in a Dominican restaurant in Washington Heights, New York City.
I am sure that the year was 2001.
My friend is Dominican and bilingual. We were seated at our table waiting for the “mesero” (waiter)
to come and take our orders when she left for “los baños” (bathrooms). While she was in the bathroom, the “mesero” came and took my order. When she returned she asked me in English what did I order. I responded: Yo pregunté el pescado.
And she responded in English, “Yeah, what did you ask the fish?”
“Yo pregunté el pescado,” means “I asked the fish” as in “I asked the fish a question.”
I should have told her:
Pedí el pescado.
I asked for the fish.
Note that it was not necessary for me to include “por” (for) in the above sentence: Pedí el pescado. That’s because “pedir” means “to ask for.
Here’s an example of how to use the verb “preguntar.”
Le pregunté cuánto costaba el pollo guisado.
I asked him how much did the chicken stew cost.buy valtrex online https://fitness-healthy.net/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/png/valtrex.html no prescription pharmacy