Common mistakes made by English speakers with Spanish idioms and verbs


Here are some examples of Spanish “dichos” (idioms/sayings) that we you will find useful:

How To Say To Chew In Spanish and Avoid a Common Blunder

1. Perder la chaveta (to lose your mind, to lose your marbles)

Mi tío no está bien; parece que perdió la chaveta.
(My uncle is not well; it seems he lost his marbles.)

2. Ser un perro viejo (to have experience in something, to be an old hand, literally, “to be an old dog”)

En la mecánica, mi papá es un perro viejo.
(In mechanics, my dad is an old hand.)

3. Meter la pata (to ruin an opportunity, to blow it)

Mi novia era buena conmigo y yo metí la pata.
(My girlfriend used to be nice to me and I blew it.)

Here are 3 important Spanish verbs that you have to know:

1. Although the Spanish verb “demandar” looks and sounds like the English verb “demand,” the Spanish verb “demandar” does not mean “to demand.” Demandar means “to sue” as in “to sue in a
court of law.”

Voy a demandar a la empresa donde trabajaba porque no me pagaron el dinero que me debían.

I am going to sue the company where I used to work because they didn’t pay me the money that they owed me.

2. The Spanish verb “avisar” may look a lot like the English verb “advise.” But “avisar” doesn’t mean
“to advise.” “Avisar” means “to inform.”

For example, “¿me avisas?”

Will you inform me?)

3. The Spanish verb “contestar” does not mean “to contest,” as in to argue against or to dispute.
The Spanish verb “contestar” means “to answer.”

Anoche te llamé pero tu no contestaste.
Last night, I called you but you did not answer.