Falsos amigos”, or literally, “false friends” (also referred to as “false cognates”), are words which sound like they mean the same thing in English as in Spanish. This is the case with true cognates, such as horrible, which does in fact mean “horrible”.

However, does "carpeta" really mean “carpet”, and is it a good idea to say that you are “embarazada” if you feel embarrassed?

Read on to find out the top “falsos” amigos that you should avoid like the plague!

There are a lot of false cognates between English and Spanish, and often you may use them without even being aware of it. This can lead to a double misunderstanding – your conversation partner as you’ve said something you didn’t mean; and you, because you are unaware of the difference in meaning! This often results in some fairly unfortunate (but often funny) situations. 

Embarazada vs avergonzada

You said… Estoy muy embarazada! (I’m very pregnant!)

You meant… Estoy muy avergonzada! (I’m very embarrassed)

Embarazada = Pregnant - Avergonzado/a = Embarrassed

Excitar vs emocionar

You said… Esto es muy excitante (This is very (sexually) exciting)

You meant… Esto es muy emocionante (This is very exciting)

Excitante = (Sexually) exciting - Emocionante = Exciting

Actualmente vs en realidad

You said… Actualmente, es totalmente diferente (Currently, it’s totally different)

You meant… En realidad, es totalmente diferente (Actually, it’s totally different)

Actualmente = Currently - En realidad = Actually

Bizarro vs raro

You said… ¡Qué bizarro! (How gallant!)

You meant… ¡Qué raro! (How strange!)

Bizarro = Gallant - Raro = Strange/bizarre

Delito vs Encantado

You said… Estoy delito (I’m a crime(?!))

You meant… Estoy encantado (I’m delighted)

Delito = Crime - Encantado/a = Delighted/charmed

Sensible vs Sensato/a

You said… Soy muy sensible (I’m very sensitive)

You meant… Soy muy sensato/a (I’m very sensible)

Sensible = Sensitive - Sensato/a = Sensible

Constipado vs estreñido

You said... Estoy estreñido (I am constipated)

You meant... Estoy constipado (I have a cold) 

Constipado = to have a cold - Estreñido = constipated

Conservante vs Preservativo

You said... Casi todas las latas de comida contienen preservativos (almost all canned food contain condoms)

You mean... Casi todas las latas de comida contienen conservantes (Almost all canned foods contain preservatives)

Conservante = preservatives - Preservativo = condom  

#amigos #grammar #Spanish #idioms #learning

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