tricky Spanish words and meanings

Yikes! Don’t Confuse These 7 Tricky Spanish Words

tricky Spanish words and meanings

As a beginner learning Spanish, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by new vocabulary. How do you keep track of all of the Spanish words and meanings? Not to mention all the false cognates that are out there!

Fortunately, with practice, Spanish words and phrases will become like second nature to you. Just watch out for the tricky word pairs! For a helpful lesson, our friends at Lingolistic recently shared an article with us with some words that are particularly confusing for beginners. Here are a few of them:

Vaya, valla

  • Vaya: to indicate surprise, either for a bad or a good reason. It also works as the verb “to go,” which is where most people make mistakes. Example: “¡Vaya noche, me lo he pasado genial!” (What a night, I had a wonderful time!).
  • Valla: it sounds the same, but it means “fence.” Example: “Ayer pinté la valla de verde” (I painted the fence green yesterday). So remember: vaya for the verb, valla for the object.

Haber, a ver

Although the difference is quite big, people tend to make this mistake very, very frequently since both sound the same.

  • Haber: the verb to indicate “there is” or “there are.” Example: “Hay un coche estropeado” (There is a broken car there).
  • A ver: the meaning is “let’s see,” but people usually use the previous verb (haber) instead. Example: “A ver, qué comemos hoy” (Let’s see, what do we have for lunch).

Ay, hay, ahí

If you’re a Spanish learner, this might be a headache, but don’t worry, there is a sentence to make it clearer: “Ahí hay un hombre que dice ¡ay!” (Over there, there is a man saying ouch!).

  • Ahí: “there, over there”
  • Hay: the verb “haber” in present tense, “there is/are”
  • Ay: a moan, “ouch”

Continue reading the article here, and make sure to check out the other resources Lingolistic has available for Spanish learners!

Readers, what other word pairs do you get confused? Ser vs. estar is another one our tutors have pointed out. Let us know what Spanish words and meanings you struggle with by leaving a comment below! 

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