Feeling regretful of your mistake, or sorry for someone is not a fun feeling, and it won’t be a time you want to pull out your translator! How to be prepared to say the right words?
What to say when you have hurt someone like a friend or a partner? This is not a moment you want to feel tongue-tied and worry that the person you care about cannot understand the regret you want to extend to them.
In English there is this convenient word “sorry” that can be used for so many different situations. But this is different if you are speaking Spanish.
“Sorry”, you mutter as you bump into someone unintentionally on the sidewalk. You are in a big hurry. “Sorry, I’m late!” You exclaim as you meet your friend for a quick coffee before work. As you reach up for a big hug (and maybe a besito) you knock their phone off the table, “Oh!
“Excuse me!” In English, we use this phrase in so many different contexts with various tones of voice. Some probably sounded more polite than others, even though their meaning was the same. Take a moment and I bet you can remember three times you have used it recently for different purposes. Maybe you needed to get a cashier’s attention when they were busy texting and you were ready to check out.
When learning a language you do not want to imitate native speakers’ mistakes, but in order to avoid this, my nice defenceless learner, you need someone who will let you know when what you hear or read is incorrect. I would like to be the person to teach you about two widespread mistakes that you should not imitate: el dequeísmo y el queísmo.
I am sure you have met native speakers of your language who use incorrect sentence structures… A native speaker is not necessarily an accurate speaker, and speaking badly is not the way to make a good impression.
Sometimes learning Spanish can be frustrating. You think you know the basics but then you realize your Spanish friends are laughing at you. You just asked them how the weather was at the party they went to instead of asking if they enjoyed it! (¿Tuviste un buen tiempo en la fiesta?) But how were you supposed to know that it wouldn’t make sense? “Tiempo” is used for both “time” and “weather” in Spanish!
Corner? Which corner? “La esquina” or “el rincón”?
Do you know the difference between “esquina” and “rincón”? Both are translated into English as the word, “corner” but in Spanish they are not used the same way! This is an important distinction to make if you want to talk to your students in the classroom, or if you want to meet up with your friends on the corner for a “cerveza” or beer!
One of the first things you learn about Spanish is that nouns have gender, like how la mesa (the table) is feminine, and el plato (the plate) is masculine. The idea that non-living things like objects, places, and feelings, can have a gender usually seems a little weird to native English speakers. Well, it gets weirder still…
The amusing gender of spanish nouns Some special words can be either masculine or feminine, and have a totally different meaning for each gender.
If you have no idea what a diminutive is, this article is for you. If all you know is that diminutives are suffixes that make nouns smaller, this article is also for you. I want to teach you the subtle meanings hidden within diminutives. Textbooks don’t tend to explain this, and not understanding it is preventing you from achieving three crucial goals in fluency: being witty in Spanish, sounding more natural, and understanding informal conversations.