Common mistakes in Spanish Verbs

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The usual mistakes in Spanish Verbs

We have prepared a list of the most common errors in Spanish verbs, in this way you can improve your Spanish. Remember that if you have any questions, you can say it in the comments and we will solve it.

  • Acordarse de / recordar (a)

    Although these are synonyms they do not have the same structure. Acordarse is a reflexive verb and takes the preposition de. Recordar is a transitive verb and does not take a preposition, except in cases when the direct object requires the preposition a.


    Me acuerdo de las vacaciones.

    Recuerdo las vacaciones.

    Another possible mistake is the following:

    * “Me recuerdo…”. Because the verb “recordar” is not reflexive, it does not use the pronoun. The correct expression is: “Recuerdo…”

  • Caer

    Never means “tirar”. The phrase ¡Que lo caes! is incorrect.

    The correct form would be: ¡Que lo tiras!


    Ayer tiraste todo el café por la mesa de la cocina.

  • Dé / de

    : Form of the verb “dar”.

    De: Preposition.


    Juan no lo cogerá aunque usted se lo .

    Ese coche es de Luís.

  • Deber / deber de

    Deber indicates obligation.

    Deber de indicates probability.


    Debes estudiar más.

    Las llaves deben de estar en la entrada.

  • Explotar / explosionar

    Although these are synonyms according to the Royal Academy, the use of “explosionar” with the meaning “hacer explotar” is preferred.


    Los artificieros explosionaron la bomba.

    Los artificieros hicieron explotar la bomba.

  • Falsear / falsificar

    Falsear: The truth or reality is falsified or distorted (“falsear”).

    Falsificar: Money is forged (“falsificar”). To produce something that is false.


    En muchos casos la historia está falseada.

    Cogieron a una banda que falsificaba billetes de 20 euros.

  • Había(n)

    The form of “hay” only uses the singular in all tenses:


    Hay tres personas en la habitación.

    Había tres personas en la habitación.

    Never * Habían tres personas

  • Haber / a ver

    Haber: Infinitive of the verb.

    Example: Haber se escribe con “h” y con “b”.

    A ver: Expression formed by the preposition “a” followed by the verb “ver”.


    Vamos a ver este problema.

  • Hay

    The verb “hay” is never followed by the determiners “el”, “la”, “los”, “las”, but rather by the indefinite articles: “un”, “una”, “unos”, “unas” or by numerical determiners: “dos”, “tres”…


    Incorrect: * Hay el coche rojo en la calle.

    Hay un (dos…) coche rojo en la calle.

  • Hecho / echo

    Hecho: Participle of the verb “hacer”.

    Echo: First person of the present indicative of the verb “echar”:


    Ese ejercicio ya lo he hecho.

    Yo echo azúcar en el café.

  • Huvo

    Incorrect form of the verb “haber” that occurs due to confusion with the form “tuvo” of the verb “tener”. The correct form of the simple past of the verb haber is hubo.


    Cuando lo hubo dicho, salió por la puerta.

  • Incautarse

    This is the correct form. It is incorrect to use “incautar” as in: *”La policía incautó la cocaína”.


    La policía se incautó de diecisiete millones de euros en billetes falsos.

  • Observar / ver

    Do not confuse these two verbs. “Observar” has a more active connotation; it implies paying attention.


    Llevo toda la tarde observando al perro. Hoy hace cosas muy raras.

    Cuanto más veo la televisión, menos me gusta.

  • Rayar / rallar

    Confusion caused by the lack of phonetic difference between “ll” and “y” in many Spanish speaking regions. They are two different verbs.

    Rayar: (From the Latín radiare.) transitive. To make lines or stripes. // 2. To cross out written or printed words with one or more lines. // 3. underline. // 4. to ruin or spoil a smooth or polished surface with scratches or incisions.

    Rallar: (From rallo.) transitive. To break up something into small pieces by rubbing it on a grater.


    Ralla más queso para la pasta.

    El gato ha rayado la mesa nueva.

  • Recepcionar

    Incorrect. The correct form in Spanish is recibir.


    El Rey recibió a los embajadores.

  • Salvar

    We should not use this verb to express the English meaning of “grabar” (record, save).


    He perdido los datos porque el ordenador no los salvó. Incorrect. We should say: “… no los grabó“.

  • Saludar

    Should not be used in the sense of “receive with satisfaction”.


    El gobierno saludó las nuevas medidas económicas de la Unión Europea. This is incorrect.

    We should say: El gobierno acogió con satisfacción las nuevas medidas económicas.

  • Tuvo / tubo

    Tuvo: Simple past form of the verb tener.

    Tubo: A cylindrical, hollow, elongated piece having various uses, such as channeling water or other fluids or gases.


    Hace años Luis tuvo mucho dinero.

    El coche tiene el tubo de escape roto.

  • Volver a reanudar

    A redundamt construction used with the sense of beginning something again. But that is precisely the meaning of reanudar, so this construction should be avoided.


    Volvieron a empezar las obras de la autovía.

    Reanudaron las obras de la autovía.

If you want to learn as well the most common mistakes in Spanish expressions, the common mistakes in Spanish Words  or 8 Spanish grammar mistakes. Now that you have learned the regular verbs, try with the irregular conjugations.

If you have more words that cause you problems or that can produce errors, write them in the comments! We will help you solve them!

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