Do you make these mistakes too?

1. Be careful: "buenos días" is not a general "hello" but means "good morning".

2. We have lost count of the number of times someone has said: "Gracias para todo" which would be lovely except for the fact that you always follow "gracias" with "por" to thank someone for something so it's "Gracias por todo".

3. You might get a few funny looks if you say "estoy caliente" when what you are trying to say is "tengo calor". The second means you're hot, the first you are horny :-)

4. Here's another corker "es bien". The verb "ser (es)" is never followed by "bien". So if you want to say "it's fine" you use "está bien".

5. Avoid passive expressions like "es necesario?" or "es possible?". Much better to use the verbs "Can I?, Could I?, Am I allowed to?" and "Do I have to?, Should I?" instead. So better "¿Puedo coger una manzana? " than "¿Es posible coger una manzana?" and better "tengo que (debo) llegar a las 7" than "es necesario llegar a las 7".

6. Never say "me encanta mucho/muchísimo". As the "encanta" bit already implies you like something a lot saying "Me encanta mucho el vino" is like saying "I like wine a lot a lot"

7. Now for a tricky one: people think that "el agua" has its gender changed because it is hard to say "la agua". This isn't true as – look at "la administración" - two "a's" beside each word but no gender change there. The key is in where the stress falls in the word. As the stress falls on the first syllable in the word "agua", the article gender changes, but this is not the case with the word "administración" where the stress falls on the last one. More help? Go to the ISLA Free Help tool?

8. The difference between "ella es guapa" y "ella está guapa" could not be bigger. One means "she is a real beauty" and the other one means "she is looking good today".

9. A Spanish "¿Qué tal?" in the lift or on the street is like an English "How are you?". Rather than delving into details of your last mini break or head cold, the correct response is to volley back "¿Qué tal?".

10. While usually nouns ending in an "o" have the article "el" there are a few jokers around to make life more interesting. Hence: "la mano" "la radio", la "moto" .

11. The letter "y" is a bit like a twin of "i" and they are twins that don't like to be together. So you can't say something is "esencial y importante" but rather have to change the "y" to an "e" so it would be "esencial e importante" . This rule even applies to words with a silent "h" where the first vowel is the "I" sound. So you say: "hijas e hijos (daughters and sons)" and not "hijas y hijos". Even a few Spanish people fall at this particular fence.

1. "Oir" and "escuchar": generally "oir" is 'hear', in an undeliberate way and also refers to the sense and act of hearing. "Escuchar" is more like "listen" which you do on purpose. "no te oigo" 'I can't hear you?'. "Estoy escuchando música" 'I'm listening to music'.

2. "Ir" and "venir": usage is dependent on the subject being in the same place as he is apparently coming/going to. So, you don't say "¿Vienes a mi fiesta?" to a friend you are calling from the train station. That would imply that your party would be there by the tracks. Similarly, if a friend calls to ask you where you are because you are late for a date and you wish to say "I'm coming!" you don't say "Vengo" but "Voy".

3. "Traer" and "llevar": same principal as above. "Traer" is to bring something to your location as you are speaking. So if you are trying to tell a friend that you will bring a bottle to their house for dinner, you have to use "llevar".

4. "Sólo" and "solo": "Sólo" means the same as "solamente" or 'only'. "Solo" means 'lonely' or 'alone'.

5. "Aún" and "aun": "Aún" means the same as "todavía" or 'still'; "aun" means the same as "incluso", "hasta" or 'even'.

6. The collective noun "gente" takes a singular verb form, "La gente va a dormir" and not "La gente van a dormir".

7. "la semana pasada", "el año pasado", "el mes pasado", Last week, last year, last month – if you want to say 'in the last month', never use "en la semana pasada".

8. You always go in the car and not with or by it – hence "ir en coche" (not "por coche" or "con el coche").

9. "Comenzar" and "empezar": "el comienzo" ('the beginning') and ….. that's it. "el empiezo" doesn't exist".

10. Another problem is that to say 'another' (whether you mean additionally, or a different one) you just say "otro" and never "un otro", hence "quiero otra cerveza", "prefiero otro vestido" and no "quiero una otra cerveza", "prefiero un otro vestido".

11. Crear/creer, sentirse/sentarse: Tricky customers these as they sometimes share identical forms: Hence, "Creo obras de arte" 'I create art' "Creo que es estúpido" 'I think it's stupid'. Similarly, "Me siento fatal" 'I feel rubbish'. "¿Me siento aquí?" "Shall I sit here?" You'll just have to guess which is which from the context!

1. Dijistes, comistes, elegistes. We all associate an “s” at the end of the verb with the “you” or “tú” singular form (dices, hablas) but even native speakers will sometimes add that “s” to the past tense, hence “hablastes”, “dijistes” and so on. Quite wrong and rather inelegant!

2. Apart from being an  auxiliary verb “haber” in the 3rd person singular (hay, había) also means there is, AND the plural “there are”.  So there is no need to pluralize it with the “n” – Habían mucha gente en la playa” There were a lot of people on the beach. 

3. Is heat male or female?! The right answer is El calor, but the Catalans say La calor a lot too.

4. It is common to go overboard with “de” and insert it where it is not needed. Hence “Una vez de que termine mis tareas, podré ir al cine. Pienso de que podremos estar a las siete. Both these are examples of “de-ismos”.

5. And what about “laismos”?  This is when foreigners change the indirect complement “le” to the more feminine sounding “la” when referring to a lady, hence: “La dije a Luisa que viniera” should read “Le dije a Luisa que viniera”.

6. Foreigners often pluralize “Casos límite”  to “casos límites”. “Límite” is not an adjective but part of a compound noun and thus does not have to “agree”.

7. In the Basque Country it is common to hear “Si tendría dinero me compraría un coche” but this is grammatically wrong as after the “Si” in  a hypothetical sentence you must have a verb in the subjunctive voice., and the conditional only in the second “resolution” part of the sentence. The right sentence reads “Si tuviera dinero me compraría un coche”.

8. Debe – debe de. These two are often confused.  “Deber” is a modal verb meaning “Should” so “Debes ahorrar dinero”, “You should save money”. “Deber de” is a supposition expressing probability hence “Debe de haberse marchado” , “He must have left”.

9. Hojear – ojear.  These are easily confused and similar in meaning. “Hojear” comes from “hoja” meaning leaf as in “to leaf through a book”. “Ojear” is from eye as in “echar una ojeada” or “cast your eye over this”.

10. Demás y de más. “Demás“ means “the rest “ or “the others” as in “ las demás noches no he dormido nada”, “on the other nights I haven’t slept at all.  “De más” is more like “de sobra” or “demasiado” – that is to say “too much” – “has bebido de más” “you have drunk too much”…