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: ‘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: ‘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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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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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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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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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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COMMON ERROR: TRANSLATING ‘IR/ESTAR A LA CALLE’:

In our Skype English classes many Spanish students make a mistake translating the following sentence: ‘voy a la calle’. As you may realise, this phrase means that you will be outside of your house whether you will be in a park, in a bar, in a plaza, by the side of the road etc. Thus, to say ‘I’m going out to the street’ is incorrect unless you are only going to be actually ‘in the street’. What we would say in most cases to cover everything would be: ‘I’m going outside/out/outdoors’ which covers all situations that are not actually when you are in a building (indoors). Similarly, if we say ‘estoy en la calle’, it would be incorrect to say ‘I am in the street’ unless you are really specifically in a street. We would need to say ‘I am outside or outdoors’ or something similar.

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DAYS OF EASTER:

In our Skype English classes online, students often don’t know some terms related to Easter. So of course ‘Easter’ is the name we give for ‘Semana Santa’ or ‘Pâques’. ‘Viernes Santo’ is called ‘good Friday’. 2 days after is the culmination of lent (cuaresma/carême) called ‘Easter Sunday’ and then ‘Easter Monday’. A popular tradition in the UK at Easter is chocolate egg hunting. Happy Easter!

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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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