Common Errors To Avoid When Speaking Spanish

Let’s talk about some more common pitfalls that Americans and other native English speakers should try to avoid when speaking Spanish. Last night, I went out to eat dinner with a friend named Mike (not his real name) who is visiting me hear in Colombia and he made a number of mistakes with his Spanish. I want to tell you about this mistakes so that you can be sure to avoid them. You will also pick up some Spanish vocabulary words in this article when I share last night’s experience with you. At the “restaurante,” I had “la pechuga a la parrilla con papas a la francesa” (grilled chicken breast with french fries also know as “papas fritas”) bitpapa and my friend had “costillas con puré de papas” (ribs with mashed potatoes) and a Club Colombia (Colombian “cerveza”).

While we were eating, I must have gotten a little bit of “salsa de tomate” (ketchup) on my shirt’s collar. By the way, “salsa de tomate” (which literally means “tomato sauce”) is the word they use for “ketchup” here in Colombia. In Colombia, a lot of people also say “salsa roja” (red sauce) in order to say “ketchup.” And in many parts of Latin America, ketchup is simply called “ketchup” but with a Latin American accent of course.

Back to Mike’s next mistake…

When Mike saw the “salsa de tomate” on the collar of my shirt, furzly he said to me:

“Patrick, tienes ketchup en tu collar.”

I understood what he was trying to say, but I couldn’t resist the temptation of saying to him in English, “but I am not wearing any jewelry.”

Although the English word “collar” and the Spanish word “collar” look exactly the same, they have two completely different meanings. That’s because in Spanish the pg79th word “collar” means necklace or ornament that is worn around the neck.

If you want to say collar in Spanish the phrase is “cuello de la camisa” “Cuello” also means “neck.”

I then asked Mike how did his “cita” (date) go with his amiga. And he told me:

No me gustó (I didn’t like her.) And I asked him “por qué no?” (why not?) And he told me “por la máscara de ella.” With his poor Spanish, he attempted to explain to me that his amiga’s “máscara” reminded him of his x-wife.

At that point, Mike had me confused. So I started speaking to him in English. And I told him that his amiga was not wearing a mask, that is how she really looks.

And he said to me in English that he never said that she was wearing a mask. And I told him sure he did. He just told me that he didn’t like her because igaming marketing she was a wearing a mask that reminded him of his ex-wife. We went back and forth with the Abott and Costello routine for at least a minute before I finally realized that he was trying to say the English word “mascara” in Spanish.

Although the English word “mascara” and the Spanish word “máscara” look very similar, they have two completely different meanings. That’s because in Spanish the word “máscara” means mask. If you want to say the English word mascara in Spanish the word is “rímel.”

Ella no se maquilla mucho, sólo se pone un poquito de rímel. She doesn’t put on a lot of makeup, she only puts on a little bit of mascara. sattamatkachat

So when speaking Spanish be sure to avoid these common errors that Americans and other native English speakers tend to commit when speaking Spanish.


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