10 SPANISH TRANSLATION MISTAKES – answers and grammar



It's important to understand why you can't always translate directly from your own language into English. The translation of a word might have a different meaning in English (padres - 'fathers' is not the same as parents!), the word order can be different (English usually puts adjectives before a noun object for example), and some phrases are more 'idiomatic' in meaning or very specific to the context in English. If you want to improve your English skills and to avoid relying on translating from your language, try a course of one-to-one lessons with us where we can focus on the specific parts of English that you want to practice and improve.

Answers and grammar information

  1. I listen to the radio every morning.

The verb listen is followed by to when there is an object named. Other verbs that have this pattern are: talk/speak/explain to + a person.

  1. My boss is used to working late.

The verb BE + used to is followed by a verb-ing. This is because the ‘to’ is a preposition and all prepositions in English must be followed by a noun or a verb-ing (which is ‘acting’ like a noun)

  1. I’m not sure how much money my co-workers win earn.

We earn money (a salary, or wages) but we win games or competitions (we can only win money when we are gambling for example, at a casino)

  1. My fathers parents live in the countryside, but I have a lot of parents relatives in the city.

In English, your parents are your mother and father together (you can have one parent but you can’t identify from this which one it is!) Your relatives are your extended family – aunts, uncles, cousins etc. It is easy to confuse the Spanish word parientes for ‘parents’.

  1. I will ask to my friend about my problem. I know he will tell to me some good advice.

The verbs ask and tell are NOT followed by to. However, we have to add the person (my friend) or personal object pronoun (me/you/him/her/us/them) after the verb.

  1. The shops in the town are open since from 9am to 6pm.

We say from (a time) to (a time) to show the regular duration of a activity or timetable.

  1. I’d like to present what is the business is about.

When introducing a topic with a sentence starter followed by what we continue the sentence with a statement form NOT a question form.

  1. I need to put my pay attention to this presentation.

We can pay attention to something when we need to focus on it carefully.

  1. I am late because I lost missed the bus this morning.

The verb miss is used in English when talking about public transport to show that we were unable to catch the bus/train/plane that we wanted to go on.

  1. How long are have you been working in your company?

We use the present perfect continuous/progressive form to show duration of an action that started in the past and continues into the present. The question usually starts with ‘how long’ to indicate ‘length of time’.

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