Most of our Skype English students translate ‘bar’ with ‘pub’. Most of the time this is wrong since a ‘bar’ in a non-English speaking country is rarely similar to a ‘pub’ in appearance and ambience. So you want to translate the word ‘bar’ with ‘bar’ unless the establishment in question is actually an ‘Irish/Scottish/Australlian/English… pub’, in which case you can use the word ‘pub’ as a translation of ‘bar’. To help understanding, the first image in this post is a ‘pub’, the second would be typical of a ‘bar’.
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)
Learning a language such as English to your desired level doesn’t have to be as hard as you may think. Like most significant goals discipline, patience and determination is required. What also assists enormously, what makes it a whole lot easier… is ‘having fun’. If you are enjoying the learning experience then it becomes far easier to maintain the upward process. Have fun learning by going to language exchanges, watching your favourite films or documentaries in English, playing video games in English, reading articles of your interest in English, taking Skype classes etc. When I started studying Spanish whilst unemployed in the south of France, I bought the same 400 page book in Spanish that I had already read several times in French. I was fluent in French at the time. The subject of this book was one of my passions. So with my low level of Spanish at that time (A2), it didn’t matter if it took me 20 minutes to read each page initially. I stayed motivated because I was having fun. So making progress was really quite easy despite my low level at that time.
Also, remember before it was much more difficult to learn a language compared to nowadays. You know, a generation ago people learning languages did not have all these technological resources at their fingertips like you do! I’m talking about resources online. There are so many options and free options to make learning English such an enjoyable past time online… So come on! Make learning English as fun as it possibly can be and the inevitable significant advance will happen!
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.
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.
Many of our students in our English Skype classes have issues with these. Shadow is used to describe specific areas of darkness that are produced when objects or people are blocking any source of light. If you lift your hand up towards the light you create a shadow. It can be indoors or outdoors. A shadow can be cast by any light source such as a candle, a flashlight, an overhead light, a spotlight or the sun.
Shade, commonly used in a more general sense, is the darkness created by only the sun. Unlike shadow, it is an uncountable noun. The darkness underneath a tree or a parasol on a sunny day would be the shade. Shade is what one typically seeks on a hot sunny day in order to avoid too much sun exposure.
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.
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!
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.
‘CARRERA’ IS A FALSE FRIEND:
In our Skype English online classesSpanish students often wrongly translate ‘carrera’. One of the meanings of ‘carrera’ in Spanish refers to studies which are done at university whilst this is not the case in English. ‘Career’ refers to your professional working life which is normally carried out after university, school or college is finished. It does not refer to studies done at university in English. When you study at university this is often called in the UK a ‘degree course’ a ‘degree’ or simply your ‘studies’. Happy New Year!