Very common errors Spanish speakers make in English
English is the international language in our planet. For the first time in human history there are so many people that can communicate and connect without interpreters or dictionaries!
More than 2 billion people from all around the world are currently learning English. The mistakes we are making while learning a new language are not only inevitable but actually from a really necessary part in the learning process. The mistakes are the indicators of progress not only in language learning but in all kinds of learning. One of the most repetitive kinds of mistakes in language learning are the mistakes that are based in our mother tongue.
The Spanish language is spoken in 21 countries by more than 500 million people many of whom are trying to learn English. Scientists have found out that the majority of the Spanish speaking learners of English very often make the same mistakes no matter of their country of origin or socio-cultural background. These mistakes are often based on the differences between the structure of the two languages.
Here are some of the most common types of mistakes that Spanish speakers make in English.
Adjective placement is a common source of mistakes for beginning Spanish speakers.
In English, adjectives come before the noun: big car, blue shirt, Greek yogurt. In Spanish, however, adjectives often come after the noun: coche grande, camiseta azul, yogur griego.
There are certain instances where the adjective does come before the noun in Spanish, but in the majority of the cases, it comes after. Here are a few more examples to see the difference between Spanish and English.
un hijo inteligente (a smart son)
la noche tranquila (the calm night)
el vaso vacío (the empty glass)
So that is the general rule
However, typical descriptive adjectives almost always go before the nouns they modify, unless they are intended to convey a more subjective or poetic quality.
Adjectives that come before the noun
1. Non-descriptive adjectives; many of these are grammatically adjectives, though they are sometimes referred to as "determiners," "possessive pronouns," etc.
Muchas casas [many houses]
Tu abuela [your grandmother]
Siete mesas [seven tables]
2. Meaning-changing adjectives; these adjectives can be used both before or after the noun, When used before the noun, they convey a meaning that is more subjective.
mi vieja amiga[my old (long-time) friend] is based on the speaker's perception of their relationship
mi amiga vieja [my old (elderly) friend]
is based on the fact of the friend's age un gran hombre [a great man]
is based on someone's evaluation of the man's character un hombre grande [a big man]
is based on the man's objective size
3. Adjectives of appreciation; this is a special case where you can show an increased emphasis by placing an adjective before the noun they modify.
Es un profesor bueno [he's a good teacher]
Es un buen professor [he's an extremely good teacher]
4. Adjectives reinforcing the meaning of the noun; often these convey an increased drama, emotionality, or poeticism.
La Hermosa vista [the beautiful view]
La blanca nieve [the white snow]
La interminable tortura [the unending torture]