Studying about Spanish false cognates can prevent from making enormous Spanish slip-ups!
A cognate is a phrase that’s spelled equally and has the identical which means throughout two completely different languages. For example, the English phrase “couch” is el sofá in Spanish.
However typically, a phrase solely appears to be like the identical in each languages, however the two phrases even have utterly completely different meanings. These are what we name false cognates.
We’ll educate you about 20 generally mixed-up false cognates in Spanish so you’ll be able to keep away from some embarrassing misunderstandings!
What it appears to be like like: Precise
What it means: Present
Precise in Spanish means “present” as in eventos actuales, or “present occasions.”
In order for you the Spanish equal of the English “precise,” use the phrase actual.
“Really” would translate to en realidad, which is a fairly widespread expression.
El presidente precise de ese país es muy widespread.
(The present president of that nation may be very widespread.)
What it appears to be like like: To help
What it means: To attend
This one has the potential to set your head spinning. Asistir means “to attend” as you’d do a gathering or lecture.
The phrase for “to assist” is ayudar, and the noun “assist” is ayuda. All the time an excellent one to remember.
Be aware: Asistir can typically be used to imply “to assist,” however that which means has principally fallen out of use.
Asistí a todas mis clases la semana pasada.
(I attended all of my courses final week.)
What it appears to be like like: Choke
What it means: To collide; to conflict
Chocar is what occurs when two automobiles run into one another or two folks get right into a disagreement. It means “to collide” or “to conflict,” not “to choke.”
In Spanish, “to choke” is ahogarse, assuming you’re speaking about choking on meals or drowning. Estrangular is when an individual chokes one other particular person.
Los autos chocaron afuera en el estacionamiento.
(The automobiles collided outdoors within the parking zone.)
What it appears to be like like: Constipation
What it means: A chilly
Be certain you get this one proper earlier than calling in sick to work; in any other case, you may unintentionally be giving your co-workers a bit an excessive amount of info.
If you’re truly constipated, the phrase for constipation is estreñimiento, however you may nonetheless wish to preserve that to your self.
Está estornudando y tosiendo. Tiene síntomas de constipación.
(She is sneezing and coughing. She has the signs of a chilly.)
What it appears to be like like: To contest
What it means: To reply
This seemingly unusual translation truly is smart when you concentrate on it.
In English, the phrase “contest” is used when you will need to reply an argument in court docket. So it’s straightforward to see the way it might have some relation to the Spanish phrase contestar, which implies “to reply” a query or a phone.
Nonetheless, in court docket, you’d use the Spanish phrase impugnar to contest a verdict.
La estudiante contestó las preguntas del profesor.
(The coed answered the professor’s questions.”)
What it appears to be like like: Delight
What it means: Crime
No matter you do, don’t say “es un delito conocerte.” Which means “It’s against the law to fulfill you,” and doubtless received’t make you very many associates.
“Delight” interprets to deleite, however when assembly somebody it’s higher to say, “es un placer conocerte.” Placer means “pleasure.”
Fue a la cárcel después de cometer delitos financieros.
(He went to jail after committing monetary crimes.)
What it appears to be like like: Embarrassed
What it means: Pregnant
Utilizing the phrase embarazada incorrectly might go away you, properly… embarrassed.
There are just a few alternative ways of claiming “embarrassed” in Spanish relying on the dialect, however what I often go for is tener vergüenza. It actually means, “to have disgrace,” however it does the identical job.
Ella está embarazada y necesita descansar más.
(She is pregnant and must relaxation extra.)
What it appears to be like like: To envy
What it means: To ship
Removed from being one of many 7 lethal sins, enviar merely means “to ship.” You possibly can “enviar” a letter, a package deal, or an e mail, however you’ll be able to’t “enviar” your folks (properly, I assume you might, however it is best to punch holes within the field).
If somebody has one thing you want you had, you’ll be able to tener celos (to have jealousy) or envidiar (to envy) them.
Puedo enviarte un mensaje cuando llegue a la oficina.
(I can ship you a message after I get to the workplace.)
What it appears to be like like: Exit
What it means: Success
In case you have been to ask somebody the place you’ll find the éxito you could be in for a little bit of a philosophical reply. As a substitute, search for the indicators marked salida, and get on together with your day.
To make issues much more complicated, the phrase suceso in Spanish means “occasion” or “one thing that occurs.”
Hoy anunciamos el éxito de nuestro último proyecto.
(In the present day we announce the success of our newest venture.)
What it appears to be like like: Cloth
What it means: Manufacturing facility
As a lot as I’d wish to put on a shirt that’s manufactured from factories, I don’t suppose it sounds very sensible.
As a substitute, simply go for one manufactured from tela like everybody else, it’s in all probability a lot cooler and extra environmentally pleasant.
La fábrica hace juguetes de plástico.
(The manufacturing facility makes plastic toys.)
What it appears to be like like: Introduce
What it means: Insert
Introductions could be awkward sufficient with out unintentionally telling your folks that you just’d wish to insert them into one another.
An accurate introduction on your associates could be, “Quiero presentarte a mi amigo [Miguel].” No insertion needed.
Be aware: Whereas introducir just isn’t used for describing introducing folks to one another, it may be used within the circumstances when “introduce” is getting used to imply one thing like “carry ahead” or “add.”
For example, introducir is suitable should you’re speaking about introducing a brand new matter or introducing some new laws. This additionally applies for introducing somebody to a passion or introducing an animal to a brand new habitat.
Necesito introducir los platos en el lavavajillas.
(I have to put the dishes in the dishwasher.)
What it appears to be like like: Massive
What it means: Lengthy
That is a simple one to combine up while you’re a newbie as a result of the 2 meanings are so comparable.
Nonetheless, largo is barely used to check with size, whereas grande is used to check with the general measurement. So one thing may very well be each largo and grande, or only one or the opposite.
Mi pelo period muy largo antes de cortarlo.
(My hair was very lengthy earlier than I lower it.)
What it appears to be like like: Molest
What it means: To harass
This one does take some time to get used to really saying out loud, however it’s essential to know. You don’t wish to get the fallacious impression from somebody complaining that their boss “molested” all of them day within the workplace.
You may wish to know that the true translation of “molest” is abusar (sexualmente).
El gatito siempre molesta a los gatos adultos.
(The kitten all the time bothers the grownup cats.)
What it appears to be like like: Pie
What it means: Foot
Despite the fact that the 2 are spelled the identical, there’s a distinction in pronunciation. In Spanish, pie is pronounced “pee-eh” and means “foot.”
Two toes are dos pies, pronounced, “pee-ehs.” One thing I all the time discovered humorous is that the interpretation for “toes” is dedos del pie. Actually, “fingers of the foot.”
In order for you an precise pie, it is best to order un pastel.
There are areas the place you might also hear el pay to imply “pie”. That is pronounced the identical as “pie” in English. Maintain this in thoughts whereas exploring scrumptious Hispanic delicacies!
Me duele el pie de caminar demasiado.
(My foot hurts from strolling an excessive amount of.)
What it appears to be like like: Preservative
What it means: Condom
What we name preservatives in English are referred to as conservantes in Spanish. The phrase preservativo refers to condoms.
You too can say condón, however simply don’t say that they’re in your meals or your roommates may tease you for a whole semester.
Él compró preservativos antes de su cita.
(He purchased condoms earlier than his date.)
What it appears to be like like: Rapist
What it means: Barber; shaver
This truly isn’t a quite common phrase, however nonetheless good to know. Rapista doesn’t imply “rapist” however truly means “barber” or extra exactly, “a shaver” from the phrase rapar which means “to shave” or “to crop.”
Nonetheless, a extra widespread phrase for “barber” is barbero or peluquero. The phrase for “rapist” is violador.
Va al rapista una vez al mes para un corte de pelo.
(He goes to a barber as soon as a month for a haircut.)
What it appears to be like like: Notice
What it means: To do; to carry out
Realizar means “to do” or “to carry out.” For example, “You realized your plan to take over the world.” It’s sort of just like the phrase “execute” in English.
In case you wished to say that you just “realized” one thing in a psychological sense (as in, you seen it or got here to know it), you’d say “Me di cuenta…”
El physician va a realizar una cirugía.
(The physician goes to carry out a surgical procedure.)
What it appears to be like like: File
What it means: To recollect; to remind
To recollect one thing or to remind somebody is recordar.
Trace: Grabar means “to report.”
Recuérdame mañana que necesito grabar el nuevo capítulo de Juego de Tronos.
(Remind me tomorrow that I have to report the brand new episode of Recreation of Thrones.)
What it appears to be like like: Rope
What it means: Garments
Ropa truly shares a root with the English phrase “gown,” so it’s simpler to recollect.
Simply don’t make the error of considering that Cuban ropa vieja is definitely manufactured from outdated garments. It’s truly a really tasty dish of shredded beef, often served with rice.
Precise “rope” known as cuerda or soga in Spanish.
Mi hija necesita ropa nueva para la escuela.
(My daughter wants new garments for varsity.)
What it appears to be like like: Cleaning soap
What it means: Soup
Sustaining a wholesome way of life is essential, and many individuals are making an effort to scrub up their consuming habits, however ordering cleaning soap in a restaurant could be taking it a bit too far.
In case you want cleaning soap, the phrase is jabón, to not be confused with jamón, which is “ham” and completely fantastic to order.
¿El restaurante tiene sopa de albóndigas?
(Does the restaurant have meatball soup?)
In case you can keep in mind these 20 false Spanish cognates, you’ll be capable of keep away from fairly just a few mix-ups.
For apply, attempt watching genuine Spanish content material resembling information clips and YouTube movies to see should you can pick any of those false cognates in actual conversations.
For a learner-friendly strategy, you should use the genuine video library on the language studying program FluentU.
Every video consists of interactive subtitles that allow you to see translations and utilization info, serving to you see false cognates in context.
The earlier you study these false cognates, the earlier it can save you your self from embarrassing slip-ups. Then once more, they may make for some good laughs!