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Darse cuenta

» by August 31st, 2007 at 10:42 am » Comments (6)

The verb dar is very flexible and is used in conjunction with many other words to form idiomatic expressions both figurative and literal. The phrase darse cuenta is used to mean to realize. Pedro se dió cuenta que se le olividó su tarea. (Peter realized that he forgot his homework). The word realizar does not […]

False Friends / False Cognates

» by August 30th, 2007 at 10:39 pm » Comments (4)

While doing some research for a couple of words, I learned that false cognates and a false friends are not the same thing. False cognates are two words which have no etymological connection, but are similar in form and meaning. An example of this is the English word day and the Spanish word día. Their […]

Asistir / Atender

» by August 30th, 2007 at 10:14 am » Comments (1)

These are two words that can be really confusing for the English speaker because they are false friends. First let’s review what the meanings are in English of assist and attend. Assist is to help. This could be used to help another person or it could be a machine that lends support. Attend is to […]


» by August 30th, 2007 at 9:25 am » Comments (1)

I’m sure all new Spanish speakers have had this happen to them. You don’t know what the Spanish word is for sure so you just try the English word with the Spanish pronunciation maybe add an -o to the end. Well this happened to our son, who was 5 at the time, while we were […]


» by August 29th, 2007 at 10:32 am » Comments (1)

Though the word andar is most often translated to walk, I was taught that the word carried with it quite a bit more meaning. My language teacher said that instead of thinking of a strict translation, it should be considered roughly to mean to go about. One could go about by foot, by bicycle or […]

Ocupar / Preocupar

» by August 28th, 2007 at 7:51 pm » Comments (1)

Looking at the parts of Spanish words does not always work to help decipher their meanings as in the case of the word prejuicio. Take the words ocupar and preocupar, for instance. Ocupar is to be busy or occupied with something, a task perhaps. But preocupar does not mean to be pre- busy or occupied […]


» by August 28th, 2007 at 10:30 am » Comments (2)

Some Spanish words make perfect sense when you look at their parts, and sometimes it can cause you to look at the English word with more appreciation for its meaning. That is the case with the word prejuicio (prejudice). The parts of this word have the meaning to pre-judge someone or something. Often words like […]

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