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Readers Respond: How To Avoid Making Grammatical Mistakes in Spanish

Responses: 4

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Making mistakes is part of a new language; but with some luck and study we can avoid repeating them. This is your opportunity to point out some mistakes that you have made but might not have if only someone had warned you. Or if you're a native Spanish speaker especially familiar with the language, what grammatical mistakes of others do you hear that mark them as a newbie? Or, what has helped you avoid mistakes once they've been pointed out to you? Or, which mistakes might you add to this list?

Plenty of common mistakes

I've heard a lot of people (in my class anyway) say "mi gusta" when they mean "me gusta," and confusion between "estar caliente" and "tener calor." And a lot of "soy/estoy terminado" instead of "he terminado" or whatever after completing work. There's confusion between "bueno" the adjective and "bien" the adverb too (including "estoy bueno" for "I'm fine"), and a lot of forgetting the past participles for irregular verbs (e.g., "romper," "poner," "escribir," "cubrir," "decir" and verbs that look similar like "imponer" and "descubrir").
—Guest

Prepositions

"Whom can I eat with" is still wrong. "With" is the preposition. The sentence translates to "with whom can I eat."
—Guest Soy yo

avoiding mistakes

When you avoid all mistakes, you're perfect. Just don't expect that. BUSCAR = look for, so why say look for for? The for is included. Como EN un restaurante.--You eat IN the restaurant--you don't go TO the restaurant then stop. You have to be IN. Tengo clase el lunes = I have class on Monday. Tengo clase LOS lunes means that you have class on MONDAYS, i.e. habitally every Monday.
—lts64

How to think of "Buscar"

If you avoid translating "buscar" as "look for" and instead think of it as "seek" you'll avoid the "para" problem altogether. "Busco trabajo"="I seek work."
—Guest J
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