More Common Mistakes in English
(…that can easily be corrected)
The relationship between English and Catalan and English and Spanish is not the same as the relationship between Catalan and Spanish. Many times there is not a direct translation for expressions from language to the other. The student has to use an Equivalent Translation, and this causes many problems for students. One of the most common of these problems occurs with expressions in Catalan and Spanish that use tener / tenir but that in English use the verb to be.
The correct way to say “Tengo hambre” or “Tinc gana” in English is:
I am hungry
I have hunger (Or worse…I have hungry)
If you translate the sentence, I am hungry, directly into Catalan, it is “estic famolenc” or if you translate it directly into Spanish, it is “estoy hambriento.” Both of these are correct technically, but they sound very strange. The same is true if you translate them directly into English as “I have hunger.”
The most common mistake with these expressions is when students try to translate “Tinc vint anys” or “Tengo veinte años” directly into English as I have twenty years. This sounds very strange in English and many native speakers will not understand what the student is trying to say.
Fortunately it is easy to correct these common mistakes. In fact, there are three steps that the student must follow in order to avoid making them.
1) The student must remember that these are equivalent translations.
2) The student must memorize the English equivalents so they are automatic
3) The student must remember that “to be” is conjugated differently from other verbs:
Tengo prisa / Tinc pressa I am in a hurry
No tiene prisa / No té pressa He / She isn’t in a hurry
¿Tienes prisa? / Tens pressa? Are you in a hurry?
Here is a list of the most useful of these constructions:
To be _____ (years old) tener ___ años / tenir ___ anys
To be cold tener frío / tenir fred
To be hot tener calor / tenir calor
To be hungry tener hambre / tenir gana
To be thirsty tener sed / tenir sed
To be afraid tener miedo / tenir por
To be in a hurry tener prisa / tenir pressa
To be right tener razón / tenir raó
To be lucky tener suerte / tenir sort
To be sleepy tener sueño / tenir son
To be successful tener éxito / tenir èxit
To be careful tener cuidado / tenir compte
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