DON’T SAY ‘TO GO/COME WALKING’, USE ‘ON FOOT’:

Students in our skype English classes from Spain often translate ‘ir/venir andando’ with ‘to go/come walking’. Whilst you will be understood you want to avoid this structure. Please use ‘on foot’. For example, ‘he venido a la clase de inglés andando’ should be ‘I have come to the English class on foot’. Similarly, ‘iré andando’ must be ‘I will go on foot’. Hoping that helps!

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COMMON ERROR BY STUDENTS IN OUR SKYPE ENGLISH CLASSES: COMMON VERBS WITH A PREPOSITION IN SPANISH BUT NOT IN ENGLISH:

This group of verbs is very problematic for students because you have a preposition after the verb in most, if not all cases, in Spanish. In English a preposition is not employed. So with the literal translation which students use at lower levels they nearly always get it wrong. So the phrase ‘he llamado a mi cuñada’ must not be translated by ‘I have called/phoned to my sister in law’. It should be ‘I have called/phoned my sister in law’. So there is no preposition after the verbs ‘phone/call’ neither after the verbs ‘access’, ‘attend’, ‘contact’, ‘trust’, ‘enter’, ‘influence’ ‘threaten’ or ‘ask’. However, be careful. Sometimes the verb can have a preposition switching the meaning of the verb. For example, when ‘attend’ means ‘asistir’ no preposition is used but when it means less commonly ’to deal with or help something or someone’ then we use the preposition ‘to’. For example, ‘the staff will attend to any problems you may have’.

Also, ‘to ask’ is a special case like ‘to attend’ as it can take a preposition in one context. This changes the meaning. For example, when you ‘ask for something or someone’ then the verb does in fact have a preposition and as you might have guessed, the preposition ‘for’ should be employed. An example would be when you ‘ask for a return ticket to Oslo’ or ‘she asked for 2 beers’. This can be roughly translated by ‘pedir algo’ in the sense of ‘to request something’. However, when you ‘preguntar a alguien’, ‘to enquire’ or ‘ask somebody’ then the preposition ‘for’ should be omitted. There should be no preposition directly after ‘to ask’ in this instance. For example, ‘I asked Jim to help’ or ‘she asked the police officer about the crime’. Another example is with the phrase ‘he preguntado a mi jefe’. It must not be translated by ‘I have asked to my boss’. It should be ‘I have asked my boss’.

A list of some of the most common verbs (along with their meanings in Spanish) that don´t take a preposition in English but can in Spanish, can be found below.

To discuss (discutir sobre)

To assist/help (asistir a)

To approach (acercar a)

To appreciate (apreciar a)

To stop (dejar de)

To invite (invitar a)

To remember (acordarse de)

To regret (arrepentirse de)

To cease (cesar de)

To leave (salir de, dejar de)

To pay (pagar a)

To affect (afectar a)

To visit (visitor a)

To contact (contactar con)

To convince (convencer a)

To impact (impactar a)

To control (controlar a)

To teach (enseñar a)

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prepositions

COMMON ERROR BY STUDENTS IN OUR SKYPE ENGLISH CLASSES: ‘UNA OFERTA’ IS NOT ALWAYS ‘AN OFFER’ IN ENGLISH:

One can translate ‘oferta’ in English using ‘offer’ if we are talking about a reduction in price. However, if you are using ‘oferta’ in the sense of how many products are available or talking about supply (in the sense of quantity or range), then one must not employ ‘offer’ as many of our English students do. So you can’t say ‘there is a big/wide offer of cars’ but you can say ‘there is a big/wide range of cars’ or ‘a big quantity of cars’. Thanks for reading!

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COMMON ERROR FROM OUR SKYPE ENGLISH CLASSES: TRANSLATING ‘EN BREVE’

So we wouldn’t say ‘in brief’ to translate ‘en breve’ when you are talking about doing something soon. We’d use the term ‘shortly’. For example, ‘I will contact you shortly to arrange our next class’. That’s all for now. Have a great 2017!!

🎍🌷🌍🌞💥🌟💫🍾🍷🎂

COMMON ERROR FROM OUR SKYPE ENGLISH CLASSES: CHRISTMAS PREPOSITION (‘IN/ON/AT?’)

In our Skype English classes many students say ‘in/on’ Christmas when the preposition should be ‘at’. Why do we use ‘at’? Well we can’t use ‘on’ here since ‘on’ is for individual days (‘on Christmas day/Halloween/Wednesday/on the 2nd of January’ for example) as a preposition of time. ‘In’ is used as a preposition of time for months (in May), years (in 1978) and seasons (in spring) and decades (in the 80s), centuries (in the 21st century) and also with ‘in the morning/afternoon/evening’.

‘In’ can additionally be used for periods of time longer than one day: ‘in advent’, ‘in lent’, ‘in san fermin’ etc.

So as far as I know we use ‘at’ as a preposition of time in 4 instances in English: ‘at night’, ‘at Easter’ and ‘at Christmas’ and for times, for example: ‘at 17h45’.

However, if you are ever in doubt with the correct preposition you can always employ the word ‘during’: ‘during Christmas we will sing carols’.

Hope this helps and Merry Christmas!

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🎅🏾🎄🎍🌞☃❄💥🍾🍻🍷🎂🏂🎾🎆🏔🌄🎁🎉

christmas

COMMON ERROR FROM OUR SKYPE ENGLISH CLASSES: PREPOSITION OF TIME ‘ON’ USED WITH INDIVUDUAL DAYS SUCH AS HALLOWEEN:

In our Skype English classes, many students say ‘in Halloween’ but we must use the preposition of time ‘on’ for single days such as Halloween, all saints day, Easter Monday, New Year’s Eve or individual days such as the 13th of March or Friday. So for instance we could say ‘many children knock on my door on Halloween’ or ‘on Friday I will go to a fireworks display’. Remember, ‘on’ is for single or individual days. Please do not use ‘in’ for individual days. As a time preposition ‘in’ is used with months (e.g. March), seasons (winter…) and years (1978…). Please feel free to ask about this if you have any doubts. Thanks!

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COMMON ENGLISH MISTAKE: ‘PROBABLY’ CONFUSED WITH ‘PROBABLE’

This is often confused with our Spanish EFL students. Many students wrongly say ‘it’s probably that they will score’ (‘es probable que van a marcar’) when it should be ‘it’s probable that they will score’. Remember, ‘probable’ in Spanish should be ‘probable’ in English, not ‘probably’ which is ‘probablemente’ or ‘seguramente’. It should be noted that in the UK ‘likely’ is more used than ‘probable’. Indeed, ‘likely’ is very rarely utilised among Spanish EFL students (students normally find it easier to use ‘probable’ rather than ‘likely’) but it is used a lot more in common conversation among native speakers.

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probably

COMMON MISTAKE: MISUSING THE WORD ‘ACHE’

In our skype English classes our students often have issues with the word ‘ache’. We use ‘ache’ (meaning un dolor/doler in Spanish) as a noun with only the following parts of body: ‘tooth’, ‘back’, ‘head’ and ‘stomach/tummy’ and possibly ‘ear’. So we can say ‘I have toothache’ (for some reason ‘toothache’ doesn’t have the indefinite article ‘a’) or ‘she has a stomach ache’. For other parts of the body, you cannot employ the noun ‘ache’. Rather, ‘ache’ is used as a verb. Indeed, you can use ‘ache’ for pretty much all parts of your body. For example: ‘my wrist aches’ or ‘my backside aches’ or ‘my tummy aches’. Remember, ‘an ache’ is a light feeling. ‘A pain’ or employing the verb ‘to hurt’ (which also mean dolor/doler) means can be light or severe. This grammar point is strange. To master it you just need to learn it. Have a great day.

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ache

COMMON ERROR: WRONG POSITION OF ‘ALL THE TIME’:

A big mistake in our online English classes. ‘All the time’ phrase should go at the end of a sentence, not after the verb or participle. So it is wrong to say ‘we have been all the time sleeping’ or ‘we are all the time watching TV’. We would need to say ‘we have been sleeping all the time’ or ‘we are watching TV all the time’. Remember: put ‘all the time’ at the end.

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all the time

COMMON MISTAKE IN ENGLISH: TRANSLATING ‘OPERAR’ (TO OPERATE ON):

Unfortunately, in our Skype English classes online students have issues translating the verb ‘operar’. We don’t simply translate the word ‘operar’ just by the word ‘operate’ when we’re talking about getting some part of your body fixed. We have to add the preposition ‘on’. Thus the verb in English is ‘to operate on’. So we wouldn’t say ‘I will have my knee operated tomorrow’ but we would use the following phrase: ‘I will have my knee operated on tomorrow’.

In addition, and perhaps more simply, we have the option of not using the phrasal verb ‘to operate on’ and instead we can use ‘to have’. Thus: ‘I will have a knee operation tomorrow’.

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