Studying cognates is one great way to improve your Spanish vocabulary! However, be wary of these common false cognates and false friends that appear to be the Spanish translation of an English word, but in fact mean something completely different. Below is a chart of common false cognates/friends that often appear in the Spanish language.
How the chart works:
- Column 1 – An English word being translated into Spanish
- Column 2 – The correct Spanish translation of the English word in Column 1
- Column 3 – The incorrect Spanish translation of the English word in Column 1 (aka the false cognate/friend)
- Column 4 – The English translation of the false cognate/friend in Column 3
People learning Spanish usually believe the English word “actual” (Column 1) has the same meaning as the Spanish word <<actual>> (Column 3). However, the correct Spanish translation of the word “actual” is <<real>> (Column 2). The Spanish word <<actual>> (Column 3) means “current” in English (Column 4).
Still confused about the chart? Leave a comment below!
Important Note: One of my readers, Ester, pointed out that the verb “asistir” can also mean ‘to help someone’ in addition to ‘to attend an event’ and ‘to go to a place.’ The verb “atender” can also mean ‘to serve’ such as a store serving the public (ex: se atiende al público) in addition to meaning ‘to pay attention.’ Thanks Ester for your comment!