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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range

COMMON ERROR FROM OUR SKYPE ENGLISH CLASSES: ‘BEFORE’, ‘AFTER’ AND ‘WITHOUT’ MUST BE FOLLOWED BY THE GERUND:

This is a common problem in our English Skype classes. If you want to use a verb after ‘before’, ‘after’ or ‘without’ it must be in the gerund form (ing) and not in infinitive. Thus, to say ‘antes de ir al evento necesito comer’ would be ‘before going to the event, I need to eat’. Definately don’t say ‘before to go…’. Similarly, we’d say ‘without/after going to the event…’. Hope that helps. Have a great day.

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gerund

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: TRANSLATING ‘YO TAMPOCO’:

We explain to our Spanish speaking English students that if you want to say ‘yo tampoco!’ by itself we use the expression ‘me neither!’ Followed by an affirmation such as ‘yo tampoco quiero ir’ or ‘nosotros tampoco comemos gluten’, we cannot use ‘neither’. We have to introduce the positive form ‘either’. So for the aforementioned examples we’d say: ‘I don’t want to go either’ and ‘we don’t eat gluten either’. We cannot use ‘neither’ when there is already a negation (not) in the sentence since ‘neither’ is a negation and we must not employ a double negative in a sentence in English. Hope this helps. Let me know if you have any doubts!

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me-neither

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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on

COMMON ERROR FROM OUR SKYPE ENGLISH CLASSES: ‘UN POLITICO’ IS NOT ‘A POLITIC’

Many students in our skype English classes translate ‘un politico’ wrong. The correct word would be ‘a politician’. For example, ‘the politician was forced to resign due to the corruption scandal’. Remember, ‘politics’ is the subject, a noun. The adjective is ‘political’. Hope this helps.

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british_houses_of_parliament