Frequently Misunderstood Words, Part 2

At Maria Oliveira Language Learning Center, our Spanish language students are often concerned with puzzling words that look alike, sound similar, or are actually exactly the same except for their meanings. No matter how diligently we memorize word lists, when two words are spelled the same, we discover that context is the only thing we can use to determine meaning. Paying attention to the word placement in a sentence, or the small but significant substitution of a single letter, and even the use of accent marks, will broaden your approach to the “little” things that are so important to our expressions.

In December, we provided five word pairs that are commonly confused because of their similarities.  Here are five more frequently used word pairs that are alike in many ways but have distinctly separate meanings. When you study them, you will gain insight into those kinds of details that make all the difference in mastering your new language.

si if

el hombre man
el hombro shoulder

la papa potato     (feminine noun)
el papa pope        (masculine noun)

you (a direct, indirect & reflexive pronoun)
eltea (a noun)

a verb (to count)
cantar a verb (to sing)

If you have discovered any troubling word pairs on your own, send them in.

We welcome your input.

Good luck! 

Maria Oliveira Language Learning Center in Richmond, California, offers a wide variety of on site language classes in SpanishPortuguese and English. The Center is located just off of I-80, with ample parking and convenient class times. Click here for directions.

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