Just by using simple tips, you could have a great first impression in Spanish
It’s very common to hear from Spanish learners sentences like:
Soy 40 años* Soy un abogado* or soy interesado en … (subject)*
Find out why these phrases are not accurate and how expressing correctly what you meant will help you interact better in Spanish.
- In Spanish we have age, we are not a certain age
Yes, we know it sounds incredibly weird to say: I have 40 years* (tengo 40 años), but to master a foreign language we need to understand the world is conceived in different ways by different cultures.
In Spanish we can BE (ser) nice, polite, respectful, honest (amable, cortés, respetuoso, honesto), because it’s what it should be by nature or what is supposed to be or you can BE (estar) happy, annoyed, overwhelmed or crazy (contento, enojado, abrumado, loco), because it’s usually something temporary, emotions experienced at a certain situation.
However, when it comes to age, things are different. To help you understand this, you could think of old people saying they can’t believe time has passed so fast, they feel they ARE not that old. My grandmother, for example, used to say she didn’t feel she was an old woman, she felt as if time had passed but her BEING was still the same. So, age in Spanish is not permanent (SER), because it changes, nor temporary (ESTAR), because it accumulates… then you HAVE it, it’s a possession you have with time.
- Don’t include an indefinite article (un, una) when you express your occupation
When you say “soy un abogado*”, you’re not saying “I’m a lawyer”, it sounds as if you were saying “I’m any lawyer”, one of many. So, in your first contact be careful and say: “Soy abogado” this is the message you want to convey. You can use indefinite articles when introducing yourself but in sentences like:
- Trabajo para una compañía en el campo de … (I work for a company in the field of…)
- Ofrecemos un producto/servicio … (We offer a product/service…)
- Permítame presentarle a una compañera (Let me introduce you to my coworker)
- Be careful with ser
When you want to express you’re interested in a subject avoid using ser. As we mentioned above, ser is permanent, it’s usually used to express the essence of things, it’s nature… If a person’s nature is to be interested that person would like to benefit for himself all the time, and that’s why we need to be careful, if you say: “soy interesado” that means you like to take advantage of others, benefit from others in any way. So, it has a bad connotation. If you have a friend who only calls you when he or she is in trouble, or need money and is not for you when you need him/her, then, you would say: “Él/ella es interesado.”
What you would probably mean was that there is a subject that calls your attention, in that case you would say “Estoy interesado en …(subject)”
By Yenny Urrego – Espanovo Team
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