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Corporate Spanish Trainer

15 de julio de 2017. Es sábado.

¡Bienvenidos a Spanish Blog 365!


Today’s post is about “False cognates” .

We talked about “True cognates” back on April 22 (Review Post)

True friends in Spanish: arte, simply, vocabulario, extra, interesante


Start by watching this funny Colorado Rockies baseball commercial welcoming CarGo (Carlos Gonzalez) back in 2010. It perfectly illustrates these false friends.



Partial transcript:
¿Tienen sopa? – He thought he was saying, “Do you guys have any ‘soap’ , ”  but he really asked for ‘soup’.
Estoy embarazada. – He meant to say, “I’m embarrassed“, but instead it came out as, “I’m pregnant“.
When he gets back to his locker after showering, there are baby shower items around his locker! Teddy bears, etc…



12 Common False Cognates:

– looks like “actual” in English, but it means “current” in Spanish.
¿Cuál es su dirección actual?
– What is your current address?

to say actual in Spanish, you say, ‘real’ or ‘verdadero

Ésta es una foto real/verdadera de Frida Kahlo. – This is an actual photo of Frida.



– looks like “actually” in English, but it means “currently” in Spanish.
Actualmente yo trabajo de intérprete – I’m currently working as an interpreter.

to say actually in Spanish, you say, ‘en realidad’ or ‘la verdad es…

En realidad, soy profesora de español. – Actually, I’m a Spanish teacher.
La verdad es que no quiero comer ahora. –  Actually, I don’t want to eat now.



 – looks like “embarrassed” in English, but it means “pregnant” in Spanish.
Eva está embarazada. Esperan la bebé en diciembre. – Eva is pregnant. They expect the baby in December.

Notice how we use the verb “estar” and the word ends in an “a“. It’s a temporary state of being and it is always in the feminine form.

to say embarassed in Spanish, you say, ‘tengo vergüenza’ or ‘estoy avergonzado/a.

Tengo vergüenza.  No lo dije bien. – I’m so embarassed, I didn’t say that right.
You can also say, ¡Qué vergüenza! – How embarassing!

Note: the 2 dots over the ‘ü’ in vergüenza. They mean: pronounce the ‘ü‘.



 – looks like “soap” in English, but it means “soup” in Spanish.
Voy a pedir la sopa de tortilla, por favor. – I’m going to order the tortilla soup, please.

to say soap in Spanish, you say, ‘jabón’ .

Necesitamos más jabón para el baño. – We need soap for the bathroom.



 – looks like “exit” in English, but it means “success” in Spanish.
El program tiene mucho éxito. – The program is really successful.

Note:In English we say, to be successful’, but in Spanish they say, to have success = tener éxito.

to say exit in Spanish, you say, ‘salida’ .

llegadas y salidas. – ‘arrivals and departures‘.  Look for these signs at the airport or see salida on exit doors at stores/shops.
(coming from the verbs: llegar – to arrive and salir – to leave)


suceso – looks like “success” in English, but it means “evento” in Spanish.
Hay un gran suceso/evento en el centro el sábado por la noche. – There’s a big event downtown Saturday night.

to say success in Spanish, you say, ‘éxito‘ . Go back to number 5 above.


emocionado/a – excited, not emotional
Vamos de vacaciones. Estoy muy emocionado/a.We are going on vacation. I’m so excited.


realizar –
to carry out, accomplish, not realize
Yo realizo mis sueños. I accomplish my dreams.


colegio –
high school, not college
Yo aprendí español en el colegio. I learned Spanish in High School.


una carpeta –
a folder, like a manila folder, not carpet
la alfombra is the carpet/rug


una lectura –
a reading, not a lecture
una lectura cultural – a cultural reading


pariente –
a relative, not a parent
Ellos tienen parientes en México. – They have relatives in Mexico.


Action steps: In your Spanish Blog 365 Journal, make a note of these false cognates. Circle the ones that you think you’ll encounter most often.
The good news is that there are far more ‘true cognates’ than ‘false’ ones. So do really trust when you see words that look like an English word.
The ones I’ve posted here are some of the most common ones so learn them since they do come up quite a bit.


Leave me a note, let me know how you are doing and if you’ve ever had a funny experience with one of these. I’d love to hear from you!

Gracias y hasta muy pronto,