Spanish Language Blog

Some common linguistic mistakes in Spanish Posted by on Aug 8, 2013 in Learning, Spanish Grammar, Spanish Vocabulary

To learn a language also implies to avoid some native speakers´ typical mistakes. In some previous posts, we have talked about “dequeismo” (to know more, click here) and “laísmo” (to know more, click here), for example. Today, I want to share with you some linguistic mistakes, or vulgarisms:

Así (this way): Things are this way.
Correct: Las cosas funcionan asi.
Incorrect: Las cosas funcionan ansí.

Dónde (where): Where are you?
Correct: ¿Dónde andas?
Incorrect: ¿Ande andas?

Gratis (free): The snack is free.
Correct: La tapa es gratis.
Incorrect: La tapa es de gratis.

Aceituna (olive): Do you like black olives?
Correct: ¿Te gustan las aceitunas negras?
Incorrect: ¿Te gustan las acitunas negras?

Dentro (in) The cat is in the box.
Correct: El gato está dentro de la caja.
Incorrect: El gato está adentro de la caja.

The verb to have is usually problematic for native speakers, so we can find haiga instead of haya, habemos when the correct form is hemos, or hubieron where we have to use hubo. However, it is quite interesting to know that some words that we usually associate with vulgarisms can have an acceptable meaning too: haiga, for example, is wrongly used as a verbal form, but it is the right word for a big, posh car.

Another example is murciégalo, now considered as a misspelling of murciélago, was the original word coming from mur (ratón-mouse) and caeculus (ciego-blind). And talking about bats, let me finish this post with a joke:

“Hay tres murciélagos colgados en un árbol, dos cabeza abajo y uno cabeza arriba. Los dos colgados hacía abajo hablan entre ellos:
-¿Oye, que le pasará a este?
– No sé – responde el otro- se habrá desmayado…”

(“There are three bats hanging on a tree, two of them are upside down, and one is right side up. The ones who are upside down, talk between them:
-Hey, what happens to him?
-I don’t know, maybe he fainted away…”)


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About the Author: Magda

Hi all! I’m Magda, a Spanish native speaker writing the culture posts in the Transparent Language Spanish blog. I have a Bachelor’s in English Philology and a Master’s in Linguistics and Literature from the University of Granada, in Spain. I have also completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Education, and then worked as an English teacher in several schools and academies for several years. Last year was my first at university level. In addition, I work as a private tutor, teaching English and Spanish as a foreign language to students and adults. In my free time, I’m an avid reader and writer, editing and collaborating in several literary blogs. I have published my first poetry book recently. And last but not least, I love photography!