5 Common mistakes that Spanish speakers do

Andrea Carriero, EFL Teacher, Uruguay

22 March 2016

Learning a new language is a journey in which having mistakes will be something natural if you want to achieve a successful learning process, but the idea of this article is to help you a little bit and teach you how to avoid those common mistakes that every Spanish speaker does.

The grammar, and specially, the capitalization and punctuation marks, are slightly different in English. The use of some articles, adjectives and pronouns follow some specific rules, and the way of organizing ideas when you are writing or speaking in English is completely different. And of course if we talk about the intonation and pronunciation it seems like you are opening a very strange linguistic world.

The idea is to stay calm, embrace the language and pay attention to all the particular aspects of the language. Remember that those little things are the ones that make English special, so enjoy your learning process.

Subject/verb agreement

One of the most difficult things to learn for the Spanish speakers is the subject/verb agreement. Why? Because in Spanish it is right to say: “Ana canta” and even though we are talking about Ana, a third person, we use the verb in singular.

In English it is extremely important to remember the third-person singular verb ending, which indicates that we have to add the suffix –s or –es to the base form of a verb in present tense.

For example:

Ana sings/watches/ dances.

Misplaced apostrophes

In Spanish we do not use apostrophes, that is why learning how to use them in English is usually something difficult. The idea of the apostrophe is to replace a letter that has been dropped.

The first thing you have to remember is that: apostrophes are never used to make a word plural. We use the apostrophes to:

-indicate possession

For example: A doctor’s patient got very sick / Andrea’s book is interesting.

-indicate a contracted form

For example: it’s nice to have you here/ they’re my friends/ who’s at the door?

The idea is to stay calm, embrace the language and pay attention to all the particular aspects of the language. Remember that those little things are the ones that make English special, so enjoy your learning process.

Capitalization rules

The majority of English learners forget to use capital letter for the days of the week, the months of the year and specially the pronoun “I”. This common mistake is something that you have to correct by using your memory and practicing. Here you have the common uses:

-The beginning of a sentence

Yesterday I went to the cinema with my best friend. Her name is Laura and I love her.

-The first personal pronoun “I”

I am 24 years old. I love watching films and doing exercise.

-Proper names

Elizabeth and Susan are from Spain, meanwhile Marcos is from Germany.

-Titles of books, movies and works

My favorite book is Harry Potter.

Tomorrow I am going to the cinema because I want to see the new Spiderman movie.

Tolstoy´s War and Peace is my favorite novel.

-Months of the year

January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December.

-Days of the week

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday.


The shops are closed on Easter and New Year´s Eve.

-Adjectives relating to nationalities

He likes Japanese food but I think that Italian cuisine is better.

-Language names

English is my favorite language but I also love Spanish and Italian.

Your / you are

Even though these words are homophones (this means that their sound and pronunciation is really similar), they are not the same. Why? “Your” indicates possession meanwhile “You’re” represents the contracted form of “You are”.

For example:

– Can I have one of your books?

You’re great.

Uses of the preposition “at”

The preposition “at” is commonly used in place phrases. And the problem begins when in English we have some common fix expressions with “at”, but the only thing you can do here is to remember and practice. Here you have the examples:

-Use “at” with the following nouns:

Yesterday, I was at home writing an essay.

I had a very busy day at work.

I really enjoyed my new classes at the University.

I was at the church yesterday evening.

Maria and Carla were at the school during the Monday afternoon.

-Use “at” for specific times of the day

I will meet you there at 3 pm.

Usually I enjoy watching films at night.

The sun is beautiful at sunrise.

Remembering these 5 common mistakes will help you to speak and write better in English. Do not forget to put them in practice every day and be aware of their importance.

Suscribete a mi blog y déjame tus comentarios.

Sí te parece útil compartelo