Hola a todos,

It’s martes again, so that can only mean one thing. It’s time again for your weekly dose of español, courtesy of Diary of a Spanglish Girl! Let’s talk FALSE FRIENDS IN SPANISH.

Spanish and English have very similar words due to both deriving from Latin roots. But, sometimes, language takes a different route meaning it has uncanny resemblances to other languages, purely through coincidence. That means we can potentially say something that we don’t mean to say. We don’t want to get our “embarrasses” and our “pregnants” missed up now, do we?!

Most Common False Friends Between Spanish and English

Asistir – To attend

Now, I bet you thought it meant to assist, didn’t you? Well, if you want to say assist or help, then the word you’re looking for is ayudar. 

Bizarro – Dashing

Not actually the word for bizarre! The word for bizarre is the same as English, it’s bizarre.

Bombero – Firefighter

I remember walking around Benidorm thinking “omg, stuff for bombers?!”. The Spanish word for bomber is actually bombardero.

Carpeta – Folder

The number of times the kids would ask me for their “carpeta” and then proceed to say “carpet?”. You can imagine my face when I first started working. I mean, why on earth would they want a carpet!? Carpeta is the Spanish word for a folder, carpet is actually alfombra. 


Don’t worry, if you hear about a casualidad, it’s not a casualty, it’s a coincidence! The word for casualty is víctima.

Codo – Elbow

Not actually a code, a codo is your elbow! If you want to say code, then the word you want is código.

Colegio- High School

Nope, it’s not the word for college! If you’re in college, then you need to say you’re in universidad.

Embarazada – Pregnant

Here’s one that gets so many of us. You see embarazada and you think embarrassed. But, embarazada is the Spanish word for PREGNANT. The word for embarrassment is vergüenza or avergonzada. Don’t get them mixed up!

Éxito – Success

This one used to get me so many times. When the radio would say “playing all of the hits” and I’d hear “todos los exitos” I wondered what on Earth they were going on about. Playing all of the exits?! What?! I thought it was another word to say exit. But don’t worry, the only word for exit is salida.

Fabrica – Factory

Not actually a bit of fabric. The word for fabric is tela.

Librería – Bookstore

The library is the biblioteca. 

Molestar – Bother

You might have seen this on the “do not disturb” signs in the hotels. Don’t worry, it’s not about molesting. Molesting is abusar

Nudo – Knot

Nope, they’re not about to be nude. The word for nude is desnudo.

Parada – Stop (as in bus stop)

No point waiting around the parada for a parade! If you’re looking for a parade, then look out for the signs leading to the desfile. 

Ropa – Clothes

A lot better than a bit of rope! A rope is actually cuerda. So, a tienda de ropa is the clothes store, not the rope store!

Sano – Healthy

Not directly linked to sanity! The word for sane is cuerdoRemember the ‘O’ as it’s very similar to the word for rope!

Sopa – Soup

This is another one that gets so many people! If you ask the hotel for some sopa, they’re not going to bring you any soap! If you want soap, then you’ll need to ask for jabón.

Vaso – Drinking Glass

This won’t bring you a nice vase for your flowers! If that’s what you’re after, then you need a jarrón.

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As you can imagine, hours and hours worth of time and coffees and coffees are drank whilst creating these blog posts to help you learn Spanish, for free. This is entirely voluntary and you’re under no obligation to do so, but if you’d like to send me a real coffee, you can do so via the very secure Ko-Fi page which is powered through PayPal.

You can do so by following this link http://ko-fi.com/I2I7ARBN Thank you. x

Next week – 11th September 2018 – Cognates // Words you didn’t know you already knew?!
Last week – 11th September 2018  – Opposites

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Hasta luego,

Lauren signature

laurensignature-finalThis guide is a free blog series. This information has been picked up by practising speaking with locals in the Comunidad Valenciana area. Any resemblance to any book, guide or learning Spanish resources, is purely coincidental. This guide is not intended as a substitute for other resources or teaching. This guide does not guarantee fluency in Spanish.

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Hola! I'm Lauren ("Loh - run") — A twenty-something, engaged, English girl living on the Costa Blanca, obsessed with travel, love and elephants.

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