5 Common mistakes that Spanish speakers make when learning English

  1. Talking about people in singular form

In Spanish, “people” (la gente) is singular.  In English, “people” is plural.  People is more than one person, so it’s important to remember to talk about them in plural form.  For example, “People are very angry about the new law,” or “there are many people that enjoy playing football.”  and NOT, “people is very angry about the new law,” or “there is many people that enjoy playing football.”

Todos los días – all the days

Sometimes, when a Spanish speaker is learning English, they directly translate “todos los días” to “all of the days.” In most contexts, this is incorrect.  You should say “every day.”  Also be careful to not say “all the people” and say, “everyone” or “everybody.”

 Singular and plural confusion

Make sure that when you talk about subjects such as everybody, everywhere, everything, every day and every time, you refer to them in singular form.  In the English language we think of these terms as a singular, collective group.  Also, keep in mind that words like anybody, somebody,, nobody, somewhere, anywhere, nowhere, something, anything and nothing are referred to as singular as well.

 Differences between make and do

As both “make” and “do” translate to “hacer” in Spanish, it can be hard to differentiate them when learning English.  For the most part, you will have to study and practice in order to learn all of the different situations where “make” and “do” are used.  Here are a few helpful tips to get you started:

We use “do” to talk about jobs, tasks, responsibilities and work that do not produce a physical object.

I do my homework every night.

He has lots of work to do today.

We use “do” to refer to activities that are very general without being specific.

What can I do to help the situation?

You need to get up and do something!

We use “make” to talk about building, constructing, producing or creating something.
We use “make” to talk about the materials used to produce something.

The statue is made of bronze.

This shirt is made of cotton.

We use “make” to talk about food and drinks.

My mom is making dinner tonight.

I made a cake for my friend’s birthday.

We use “make” to talk about plans and decisions.

He has to make plans for his summer vacation.

They are making a decision about which car they’re going to buy.

We use “make” for producing an action or reaction to something,

This movie makes me sad.

My boss made me stay late at work every day this week.

Forgetting to use “dont” and “doesn’t”

When speaking in the present simple, you must use “don’t” or “doesn’t” before the verb to express that what you are saying is in negative form.  Sometimes, Spanish speakers forget this and only say “no” before the verb. If the subject is third person singular (he, she or it), you must use “doesn’t”.

INCORRECT

I no want to eat chicken for dinner.

She no work on Mondays.

CORRECT

I don’t want to eat chicken for dinner.

She doesn’t work on Mondays.

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