Learning tips
10 confusing cognates

10 confusing cognates

For a lot of English speaking people who come to North America at an early age from a Hispanic country, or grow up with parents or family who speak Spanish as a native language, it can be quite common to misuse certain words that sound similar in both languages (false cognates), but have different meaning.

Here is a list of 10 common false cognates.

  1. Actually as actualmente ❌
    Actually = De hecho ✅

    Actually, before going home, I need to go by the store.
    De hecho, antes de ir a casa, necesito pasar por la tienda.

  3. To support as soportar ❌
    To support = apoyar ✅

    Every time my niece has problems at work, her husband supports her by listening to her and by giving her positive advice.
    Cada vez que mi sobrina tiene problemas en su trabajo, su esposo la apoya escuchándola y dándole consejos positivos.

  5. To assist as asistir ❌
    To assist = ayudar ✅

    I want to assist my neighbour in repairing his house since he’s a bit sick.
    Quiero ayudar a mi vecino a reparar su casa, ya que está un poco enfermo.

  7. To attend as atender ❌
    To attend = asistir ✅

    You must attend the physiotherapist appointment next Tuesday.
    Debes asistir a la cita con el fisioterapia el próximo martes.

  9. To realize as realizar ❌
    To realize = darse cuenta ✅

    I was reading the messages on my phone and didn’t realize the bus went by.
    Estaba leyendo los mensajes en mi celular y no me di cuenta de que el bus pasó.

  11. To be embarrassed as estar embarazada ❌
    To be embarrassed = estar avergonzado(a) ✅

    Lucia got embarrassed when her dad started singing at her friend’s party.
    Lucía se avergonzó cuando su papá comenzó a cantar en la fiesta de su amiga.

  13. To pretend as pretender ❌
    To pretend = fingir ✅

    My friend hates spaghetti, but when my mom invited her for dinner she pretended she liked them.
    Mi amiga odia los espaguetis, pero cuando mi mamá la invito a cenar, fingió que le gustaban.

  15. To record as recordar ❌
    To record = grabar ✅

    The detective recorded the suspect’s statement.
    El detective grabó la declaración del sospechoso.

  17. Carpet as carpeta ❌
    Carpet = alfombra ✅

    Last year I changed my old carpet for a new hardwood floor.
    El año pasado cambie mi alfombra vieja por un piso de madera nuevo.

  19. Sensible as sensible ❌
    Sensible = sensato ✅

    Despite the fact that Carlos is only 16 years old, he is a very mature and sensitive guy.
    A pesar de que Carlos solo tiene 16 años, es un muchacho muy maduro y sensato.

By Guillermo Benavides

Photo by OSPAN ALI on Unsplash

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