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Getting better at noticing mistakes is one of the best ways of taking your Spanish to the next level.

This challenge has been carefully designed to do just that.

Here is a bare-bones example in English:

Sentence with mistakes: What is you problems?

Reference 1: Is this your bag?

Reference 2: I think I know what the problem is.

As you can see, the reference sentences hint at the mistakes in a way that is neither too obvious nor too obscure. The final answer would be:

What is **your** (from Ref. 1) **problem** (from Ref. 2)?

Now for the real challenge

Find the mistakes in these four sentences (in red) using the reference sentences (in blue).

M1: La semana pasada estaba llena de sorpresas y de sustos, pero me parece que la próxima pueda ser más tranquila.

R1: Ayer cambié todos los muebles de mi oficina de sitio.
Yesterday I changed the location of all the (pieces of) furniture in my office.

R2: ¿No te parece que este traje me queda mucho mejor que ese?
Don’t you think that this dress fits me much better than that one?

M2: Quiero conocer más gente de este país, pero no les entiendo cuando hablan entre sí mismos.

R3: Ya va siendo hora de que conozcamos a tu novia. ¿No crees?
It’s about time we meet your girlfriend. Don’t you think?

R4: Vuestros problemas los arregláis entre vosotros.
Your problems (you should) fix them amongst yourselves.

M3: No sabía que tu hermana tiene los ojos del mismo color que yo. Acabo de me di cuenta ahora.

R5: Pensaba que no querías venir a mi casa.
I thought you didn’t want to come to my house.

R6: Acabo de romper el móvil de mi padre.
I just broke my dad’s phone.

M4: Tengo un amigo quien me ha dicho que en este pueblo antes veranearon muchos turistas.

R7: Quiero conocer a alguien que me enseñe a tocar la guitarra.
I want to meet someone who will teach me to play the guitar.

R8: Cuando era pequeño mis padres me llevaban a la playa todos los domingos.
When I was young, my parents would take me to the beach every Sunday.

To really squeeze the learning out of this exercise, do it in two steps:

  • In the first step, go with your gut and correct whatever you think is wrong without looking at the reference sentences.
  • In the second step, double-check your gut to make sure that each mistake you found corresponds to one of the reference sentences. If you have more mistakes than reference sentences (or more reference sentences than mistakes), you’re still missing something.

If you think this exercise is too difficult, focus on the reference sentences. Treat them as scaffold sentences and try to recall them from memory. Once you’ve internalized them, it will be much easier to spot the mistakes.

You can email me your attempt (or if you like public accountability, post it in the comments), and I’ll reply back with the answer key.

Have fun!

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