Spanish languageSpanish Mistakes and Difficulties

Certain aspects of Spanish tend to be difficult for students, so here are some lessons to help you avoid making common Spanish mistakes.

 
To Become
There are several different Spanish equivalents for the English verb "to become," depending on several factors.

Capitalization
Spanish and English capitalization are quite different, as it is much less common in Spanish. Many words that must be capitalized in English cannot be in Spanish, so read through this lesson to make sure that you're not over-capitalizing your Spanish.

Double Object Pronouns
A Spanish sentence can have both a direct and an indirect object pronoun. These "double object pronouns" have specific rules about word order and can cause changes in the sentence. Study this lesson for more info.

Enlace/Encadenamiento
Enlace or encadenamiento is the phenomenon in Spanish whereby each word seems to run into the next, as if there are no boundaries between them. In fact, this is exactly the case: there are no phonetic boundaries in Spanish, and words do run together, in three different ways.

Falsos Amigos - False Cognates
There are a lot of words that look similar in Spanish and English, but that mean very different things. Avoid misunderstandings by memorizing this list of common false cognates.

Gender Exceptions
A list of masculine words that end in A and feminine words that end in O.

G Verbs
There are a number of Spanish verbs which are regular in all but the first person singular. These are known as G verbs, because the first person singular requires an unexpected G: caer, hacer, poner, salir, traer, valer.

Hard and Soft Vowels
Spanish vowels are divided into two categories: hard and soft. Hard vowels cause the consonant that precedes them to be pronounced with a hard sound, while soft vowels are preceded by a soft sound.

Indirect Object Pronoun Verbs
There are about a dozen Spanish verbs which must be conjugated with an indirect object pronoun. This grammatical construction does not exist in English, but it's not difficult once you get used to it.

Por vs Para
The Spanish prepositions por and para tend to be difficult for Spanish students, because they can - but don't always - both mean for. Learn the difference in meaning and uses for por and para with this lesson.

Position of Spanish Adjectives
Spanish adjectives may be found before or after the nouns they modify, depending on various factors. Generally speaking, descriptive adjectives follow nouns, while limiting adjectives precede nouns.

Pretérito vs Imperfecto
Learn the difference between the two most common Spanish past tenses.

R - Pronunciation
The pronunciation of the Spanish letter can be difficult for students. It is pronounced by rolling or trilling the tip of the tongue against the roof of the mouth.

Redundant Object Pronouns
In Spanish, you will often see an object pronoun, either direct or indirect, used in addition to the actual noun that it would normally replace. This redundant object pronoun may be required or simply stylistic.

Reflexive Se with Unplanned Occurrences
The reflexive construction is used mainly with reflexive verbs and reciprocal verbs. It can also be used to describe accidental and unplanned occurrences.

Reflexive Verbs
These verbs must be used with a reflexive pronoun in order to indicate that the subject is performing the action of the verb upon itself. Reflexive verbs exist in English, but they are much more common in Spanish.

Relative Pronouns (Que, Quien, El Cual, El Que, Donde)
Just like in English, a Spanish relative pronoun links a dependent/relative clause (i.e., a clause that cannot stand alone) to a main clause. This lesson is a comparative summary of the Spanish relative pronouns que, quien, el que, el cual, and donde. Depending on context, the English equivalents are who, whom, that, which, whose, or where.

Saber vs Conocer
Saber and conocer can both be translated by the English verb to know, but they are used in completely different situations.

Ser vs Estar
There are two Spanish verbs that mean "to be." Each of these verbs is used to express a different type of being - they are not interchangeable.

Si Clauses
Many students of Spanish have a hard time with si clauses (also known as conditionals or conditional sentences), but they are really quite simple. Study the lessons on each of the main types and then take the quiz.

Silent Letters
Figuring out how to pronounce a new Spanish word is usually  easy, but there are two silent letters.

Spelling Change Verbs
Spelling change verbs undergo consonant changes in certain conjugations, due to a certain aspect of Spanish pronunciation.

Stem-Changing Verbs
Stem-changing verbs are those that have a spelling change in the stem of most forms. Many common Spanish verbs are stem-changing, so be sure to learn how to conjugate them with this lesson.

Subjunctive
The subjunctive is usually considered the most difficult Spanish verb form for students, but hopefully this lesson will simplify matters for you. Here are conjugations and detailed explanations of usage.

Verbs with Prepositions
In Spanish, many verbs must be followed by a preposition, which may or may not correspond to the preposition (if any) used in English.

 

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