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One of the best ways to take your Spanish to the next level is to get better at noticing mistakes. The exercise below is designed to help you do just that.

Here’s an example:

M0: ¿Qué es la problema?

R1: ¿Cuál es su solución?
What is their solution?

R2: Tengo un problema.
I have a problem

The sentence in red contains two mistakes.

We know that because it has two blue sentences below it. These are the reference sentences, they each contain a structure that is used incorrectly in the sentence in red.

Your job is to notice these structures and to fix the mistakes. Something like this: “R1 says ¿Cuál es…?, but M0 has ¿qué es…?; that’s probably one mistake. Then, R2 says un problema, which is masculine, but M0 has la problema, so that’s probably wrong as well.”

The final answer would be:

¿Cuál es el problema?

That was just an example. Here are the four sentences that actually make up this challenge (there are 10 mistakes in total, one for each reference sentence):

The challenge

M1: Gracias para los consejos, pero ¿hay otros calles en esta ciudad cuales no son seguras?

R1: No te preocupes por las flores. Ya me encargo yo.
Don’t worry about the flowers. I’ll take care of it (right now).

R2: En esta calle está la casa donde nació mi padre.
In this street stands the house where my father was born.

R3: ¿En tu casa hay algún mueble que no sea de Ikea?
In your house, is there a (piece of) furniture that isn’t from Ikea?

M2: Estás correcta en no perdonarle. Que no intente echarle la culpa a sus raíces latinos.

R4: Aunque me cueste admitirlo, reconozco que tienes razón.
Although it’s hard for me to admit it, I admit that you’re right.

R5: Vamos a la raíz del asunto: no te puedes fiar de él.
Let’s go to the root of the matter: you can’t trust him.

M3: No tengo algo más que decir, pero te prometo que haremos todo lo que podemos.

R6: No te puedo regalar nada más porque me he quedado sin dinero.
I can’t give you anything else (for free) because I’ve run out of money.

R7: Te juro que a partir de ahora voy a hacer todo lo que me digas.
I swear that from now on I’m going to do everything you tell me.

M4: Yo era en un trabajo muy aburrido, y un día mi jefe me dio el oportunidad de cambiar y le dije sí.

R8: Últimamente siempre estás en la biblioteca. ¿A qué viene ese interés por el estudio?
Lately you’re always at the library. Why this interest in studying?

R9: Menuda oportunidad acabas de perder.
What an opportunity you just lost.

R10: ¿Y tu hermano dónde está? Dile que venga ahora mismo.
And your brother, where is he? Tell him to come right now.

Pro tip: To get the most out of this exercise, do it in two steps:

  • In the first step, go with your gut and correct whatever you think is wrong.
  • In the second step, make sure that each correction traces back to a reference sentence. If one of your corrections doesn’t have a corresponding reference sentence, the change you proposed might still be perfect Spanish, but you’re still missing one mistake.

If you like public accountability, post your attempt in the comments; otherwise, email it to me. Either way, you’ll get an email with the answer key within 24 hours.

Have fun!

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