How many times have you got bad grades because of wrong Spanish spelling? How many words in Spanish have you invented thinking they were correct? How long did it take you to spell correctly any new word?
Two of the most common problems when learning a new language are grammar and spelling. It doesn’t matter if you are a native or if you are learning a new one, grammar will always be a part of them! All languages have specific grammar rules and it’s always advisable to find a good grammar book to avoid those uncomfortable moments during a presentation or in university essays where grammar and words spelled wrong affect our performance.
This article aims to show you the most common grammar mistakes in Spanish. It could be useful even for natives due to the fact that our communication skills are affected when we are not able to write or talk a proper Spanish.
1. Exclamation and question marks
– ¿Cómo se escribe? (How do you write it?)
– ¡Vamos! (Let’s go!)
Spanish grammar includes two exclamation and question marks – one at the beginning and one at the end – Don’t ever forget!
Nowadays, people only use the one at the end but that’s not grammatically correct and in order to keep the language as pure as possible we must educate ourselves by following the rules properly.
2. Letters S, C and Z
These three letters have a similar sound in most of the Spanish speaking countries. But in Spain and Argentina, for example, s and z usually have different sound which makes it a bit complicated to understand them but not impossible, you just have to get used to their accent!
3. Masculine and Feminine
Words are classified according to their gender, so they should be either masculine or feminine. Those ending with “a” are mostly feminine and those with an “o” at the end are masculine in most of the cases. Be aware that there are some exceptions! Spanish has words like mapa(map), día (day) or mano (hand) whose gender is (regardless the vowel at the end) the following:
For all Spanish learners I advise to study carefully which article corresponds to every noun.
Also known as “tilde” in Spanish, accents stresses the syllable with the strongest sound. As mentioned before, there are rules that specify in which cases accents are not visibly needed (sometimes you cannot see them but they are there, believe me!) and in case you don’t know, there are words whose meaning tend to be different if you add the accent.
Tú – tu: Tú is the personal pronoun (Tú eres mi hermano/ you are my brother) and Tu is the possessive pronoun (Es tu casa/ It’s your house).
They are words that sound similar but are differently spelled and therefore the meaning will be different. Be careful!
Ola (wave) – hola (Hello)
¡Ay! (It’s an interjection) – hay (There is/are)
Bello (beautiful) – vello (hair)
Making mistakes is not the worst thing in the world; we will always be able to learn something from them!
Don’t be scared to start speaking a new language, it will always be difficult in the beginning but remember that it took us years to finally learn our own! If you want to read more about Spanish common mistakes, there are many articles and sites related to Spanish grammar and how to avoid making mistakes.