While English is – supposedly – an easy language to learn (maybe), every native speaker of another language has his or her issues. Today and next week we’re looking at the common mistakes that native Spanish speakers make when trying to learn English.

So next time if you say or hear “She has eyes blues”instead of “She has blue eyes” you know why that mistake is being made!

1.  False Friends –  false cognates are words that appear to have the same meaning in both English and Spanish, but in reality are quite different. Here are three well-known false friends between English and Spanish:

  • Embarazada: Looks like “embarrassed” but means “pregnant”.
  • Actualmente: Looks like “actually” but means “currently”.
  • Carpeta: Looks like “carpet” but means “folder”.
  • Librero: Looks like “library” but means “bookcase”.
  • familiar: Looks like “something known” but means “having to do with one’s family”.
  • Aprobar : Looks like “approve” but means “to pass, as in an exam”.

2. Omission of the Subject –  In Spanish, the verb tenses change with the subject, so actually saying “I” or “he” or “it” isn’t necessary. So learners sometimes forget that the subject is always necessary in English, leading to sentences like “is always a good idea to eat spinach.” The “it,” because it doesn’t refer to anything in particular, can be easy for a learner to forget.

3. Gender Confusion – Not that kind of gender confusion. While it’s more common for English speaking learners of Spanish to confuse of forget the genders of Spanish nouns, native Spanish speakers often get confused when it comes to words like him, her, because the Spanish pronoun “su” represents both the masculine and the feminine.

4. Pronunciation – Spanish speakers make a lot of errors with pronunciation. Some advanced students know English grammar quite well, but can barely hold a conversation due to their incorrect pronunciation of key words. The following are some of the most common pronunciation errors that Spanish speakers make in English:

  • Adding an “e” sound before words that begin with “s”. For example, a Spanish speaker would pronounce “special” as “especial”.
  • Pronouncing a “y” as a “j”. For example, a Spaniard may say “jam” when reading the word “yam”.
  • Pronouncing a “j” as an “h”. For examples, a student might pronounce the name “Jerry” as “Herry”.

5. Confusion between ‘this’ and ‘these‘ – Native Spanish speakers often pronounce these two words the same so, in writing, tend to stick with “this,” leaving poor “these” for advanced learners