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Correct Your Spanish Blunders: How to Avoid 99% of the Common Mistakes Made by Learners of Spanish 1st Edition

31 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0071438414
ISBN-10: 0071438416
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Speak and write Spanish as if it were your native tongue!

Tired of making the same old mistakes of switching your genders, confusing your tenses, and mixing up your idioms? It happens--but before you get used to speaking Spanglish, consult this guide and break those bad habits that leave everybody you talk to scratching their head. Correct Your Spanish Blunders not only tells you what you've done wrong with more than 1,000 of your typical learner errors, clearly highlighted in red, it also explains the reasons behind the mistakes, so you can correct yourself in the future.

With the aim of improving your Spanish skills, this fun but comprehensive guide will help you avoid all the common pitfalls, such as:

  • Mispronunciation and misspelling
  • Applying English grammar patterns to Spanish
  • Putting verbs in the wrong tense
  • Using incorrect prepositions in expressions
  • Forgetting agreements in gender and number
  • Hanging out with falsos amigos (false cognates)

Correct Your Spanish Blunders contains exercises covering all parts of grammar and wraps it all up with review passages to check that you are blunder-free. Soon, biting your nails will be your only bad habit!

About the Author

Jean Yates teaches Spanish at George Washington University. She has also taught Spanish as a second language on the high school and community college levels and to adults in the workplace. She lives in Arlington, Virginia.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill; 1 edition (November 4, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071438416
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071438414
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #702,397 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

71 of 72 people found the following review helpful By David Edwards on August 8, 2005
Format: Paperback
I must admit I initially hesitated to buy this book. Even when I saw that its price was extremely reasonable, I still balked. After all, I'd built a pretty extensive collection of Spanish reference books, and I hate spending money to get information I already have or know. Incidentally, after having studied Spanish for four years and even taking an advanced Spanish lit class in college, I was slowly preparing to take my state's test to become a certified translator. I figured this book couldn't possibly do me any good. How wrong I was!

While at a bookstore, I gave "Correct Your Spanish Blunders" a thorough once-over. The more I read, the more I became convinced that I needed this book. I am just about to finish reading the last 20 pages or so, and my highlighter has been going almost nonstop. I'll provide some examples of what I mean, but the book's format deserves a brief mention. "Correct Your Spanish Blunders" is divided into three sections: pronunciation and spelling, grammar, and vocabulary. The grammar section is by far the longest and is divided mostly along the lines of the parts of speech. Now, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that nouns and verbs are the flesh and blood of any language, but author Jean Yates gives even the lowly preposition its due in this book -- more than 30 pages.

It's info like this, though, that has more than justified my purchase of this book:
1. "Both the imperfect and the preterit of 'poder' may be translated as 'could,' and both the imperfect and the preterit of 'tener que' may be translated as 'had to.' (But) [t]he imperfect is used to describe a situation before its resolution. The preterit refers to a situation after its resolution."
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Stephen on June 29, 2005
Format: Paperback
I have taught myself Spanish over the years through 3 computer programs and 3 book/tape programs. I am able to converse with native Spanish speakers but always felt that I wasn't coming off as a "good" speaker. The different forms of subjunctive and when and how to use them eluded me. I looked at various grammer books and never found adequate answers. Asking the native Spanish speakers didn't help either as, like myself, they forgot grammer rules after being many years out of school.

This book is a godsend. Period.

Descriptions of the verb forms and other grammer problems are spelled out better than any Spanish grammer book I have ever seen or owned. Now when I read a Spanish language newspaper online, I don't question why a certain verb tense was used and the reason behind it. Though I am dwelling on the verb tenses, this book covers so much more. It is worth every penny.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Silly Sally on February 28, 2006
Format: Paperback
I like this book because it explains how English speakers incorrectly translate into Spanish. If you have studied languages, you know that one can never assume you may translate a phrase by looking something up in the dicctionary, putting on the proper ending to the words, and translating. It does not work. Translating directly into any langauge means mistakes. This book shows you how an English person would say something such as, " I like music." This is correct in English, but in Spanish if you said, "I like music," (meaning in a general sense) it would be wrong. You must instead say, "I like the music" (even if it is a general observation) There a hundreds of examples like that one above in the book. Buy this book, sound better!
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Carolyn McConnell on April 22, 2008
Format: Paperback
I have been studying Spanish for 5 years or more, and am always looking for another book to help me improve. This book may be beneficial to depends on how your brain is wired. This book has a highlighted box around each "blunder" while the correct way to express the Spanish is not highlighted, and in fact, at times can be difficult to find in the paragraphs preceding or following the highlighted blunder. So I am blinded by the glare from the highlighted blunder, without being able to see the correction. I agree with a previous reviewer: I feel that the errors are being cemented in my brain, not the correction. This is the only Spanish instructional book for which I have ever wanted a refund. But I own it now. I keep picking it up, thinking maybe this time it will help me. Then I put it down, thinking that this book and I really do not get along. Good luck to you, but I would not buy this one.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Lifelong Learner on February 20, 2007
Format: Paperback
While I do think the author should change the box that says, "Avoid the Blunder" to "Speak Like a Native Speaker, Say..." and then list the correct phrase(s) to say, the content of the rest of the book is excellent. The author clearly states the rules to follow and gives good examples. The book is well written and comprehensive. To get past the minor shortcoming of the book, the reader can pencil in the correct way to say things into the blunder boxes so they're imprinted in the reader's brain. I also learned a lot from reading "Pitfalls of Spanish" but I find this book to be more comprehensive and with more numerous examples.

Jade Lindquist

'Finally Learn Spanish' podcasts by Edufone
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth Webb on December 3, 2010
Format: Paperback
Not another Spanish grammar book, you might say. But this one's different. Why? Because the longer you browse through its pages, the more you will be amazed at how much you still have to learn! If you want to be blunder-free, get this book. It is worth every penny.

But for those who think they have superior Spanish fluency, I meant no offense. It's just that I've been so tired of being embarrassed because I always switch the genders and mix up my idioms. And who doesn't hate confusing their verb tenses and all those "gringo" errors? I have encountered many times when I just scratch my head and say, Oh! That really sounds bad! This book will not only correct your mistakes but also really hone your Spanish panache.

Divided into three sections - pronunciation and spelling, grammar, and vocabulary - this book tells you the difference between Spanish and English grammar patterns, and even has a detailed section about prepositions! If you have no idea what are the different subjunctive forms and how to solve the problem of false cognates, this is highly recommended! This book is a godsend for all those who want to break the bad habits and eliminate all the bloopers when conversing with native Spanish speakers.

I learned the hard way that you don't just translate directly to Spanish, haha! If you have tried interpreting from English word for word before, you know you're in big trouble. Lucky for those who are just refining their Spanish skills because Correct Your Spanish Blunders will definitely save you a lot of awkward moments with native speakers.

For those who are as passionate as I am about learning Spanish I have listed My Top 10 Tools For Learning Spanish:

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