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)
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!
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.
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!
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!
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!
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.