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 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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