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 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 MISTAKE FROM OUR SKYPE ENGLISH CLASSES: TRANSLATING ‘HACER LA PRUEBA DE ALCOHOLEMIA’

For this we use a verb ‘to breathalyse’. This is a transitive verb. So we can say ‘the police breathalysed me’ or ‘at the police checkpoint, I was breathalysed’. I hope this helps.

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COMMON MISTAKE FROM OUR SKYPE ENGLISH CLASSES: DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ‘TO HEAR OF’ AND ‘TO HEAR ABOUT’.

Generally, in English, when you ‘hear about’ something you find out the details or the situation (what is/was/will be happening). When you hear of something or someone you learn that it or the person exists.

Examples:

‘Have you heard about Sarah and Ben?’
‘I knew they got together into a relationship. However, tell me all about it.’

But:

‘Have you heard of the film ‘Titanic’?’
‘No, I’ve never heard of it.’

‘Have you heard of Vladimir Putin?’
‘Yes, he is the Russian leader’.

Jim: ‘I come from a small city called Oxford. It’s

located in England. Have you ever heard of it?’

Pete: ‘Yep. I have heard of it ( = recognise the name). And I have heard about it too as it has a famous university there. I have heard that many students around the world aspire to study in Oxford!’

Hoping that helps. Remember we do personalised English classes on Skype. Just follow the link for more details!

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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 IN ENGLISH: TRANSLATING ‘TENER GANAS’

‘Tener ganas’ is complicated to translate for our Spanish speaking students in our Skype English classes. The important thing is to use phrases or words that demonstrate enthusiasm. For example, ‘I want to go on holiday’ or ‘I wish to see you’ or ‘he can’t wait to finish these exams’ or ‘We feel like eating chocolate’ or ‘She is looking forward to the meal’ or ‘they fancy eating fish and chips’. In summary, the key is to use a phrase portraying enthusiasm. Hope that helps.

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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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