5 Common Mistakes Spanish Speakers Make in English

When learning a new language, it is inevitable that your use of this new tongue will be influenced by your native one. This means that people who speak the same language natively often make the same mistakes when learning English.

Here is 5 of the most common mistakes that native Spanish speakers make when learning English:

1. Subject omission
While in Spanish it is often fine to omit the subject of a sentence, in English it is not. In Spanish you can do this because the verb conjugation is complicated which means that just from the verb you can normally identify the subject. But English verbs are much simpler! This means we ALWAYS need the subject (with the exception of the imperative)! So if you find yourself thinking "Is difficult." - no it's not; "IT is difficult."

2. He / She
I'm not really sure where this difficulty stems from, but it is extremely common in native Spanish speakers. Remember, "he" is a boy and "she" is a girl.

3. "Knowing" people and places
In English, the first time that you are introduced to a new person is when you meet them. Similarly, you never know places, you go to them. "I have been to Switzerland." Remember we use "know" for information and facts.

4. Word order
Sometimes in Spanish people put the subject after the verb. In English this is only ever okay in questions. So if you catch yourself saying something like "Did all the homework I" - think again. We need to have the actor, the person doing the action, first. It is not optional or a stylistic preference.

5. In / On / At
Prepositions are always difficult. Always. But these three provide a particular challenge to Spanish speakers because in Spanish there is just one word for all three "en". But they are different and do have different uses! In simple terms, "in" can be thought of as "inside" or "within" (The book is in my bag.), "on" can be thought of as "on top of" (The food is on the table), and "at" is used for giving locations or times (I'll meet you at the library at two).
But we all know that it is not really that simple. Much of the time you will have to learn them casee by case. Dates are one example of this. We use "on" when we are talking about a specific day or date (I will see you on Friday). But when we are being less specific, talking about time periods or months in general we use "in" (I will see you in a week or Christmas is in December). Unfortunately, there is no simple, clear-cut way to always know which one is correct in ever circumstance. The good news, however, is that now you know that this is a common trap for Spanish speakers, you can pay extra attention to them when you hear them in use. By observing them closely in their native habitats you should develop a feel for them over time.

Remember language learning is all about applying it! The more you practise, the more natural it will get, and in the meantime, watch out for these stumbling blocks!
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