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Home » Language Resources » Common errors » Letter E

Common mistakes in Spanish – E

El cava / la cava

El cava (masculine) refers to sparkling wine.
La cava is a wine cellar.

Example:
Trajeron otras 30 botellas de ese cava tan bueno que tomamos el otro día.
Visitamos varias cavas catalanas.

El cólera / la cólera

El cólera is a masculine noun that refers to a contagious epidemic disease (cholera).
La cólera is a feminine noun that means anger, rage, irritation. (expression: "montar en cólera")

Example:
El cólera acabó con la vida de muchas personas.
Cuando ve las facturas de teléfono le embarga la cólera.

El sí

When the affirmative adverb "sí" is preceded by a determiner it is a noun. The plural is "síes".

Example:
La novia le dio el sí sin dudarlo.

EE.UU.

EE.UU. is the correct form of the abbreviation for "Estados Unidos" de América in Spanish. The first letter of "Estados" is duplicated since it is plural, followed by the period of the abbreviation, and the "U" of "Unidos" is also duplicated, followed by the period of the abbreviation.

Example:
George Washington fue presidente de EE.UU.

Electo / elegido

Normally the irregular participle electo functions as an adjective and goes with a noun:
Zapatero es el presidente electo de España.
Elegido usually works as a verb.

Example:
España ha elegido un nuevo presidente.

Elegistes

The form of the second person singular (tu) of the indefinido (past tense) is sometimes confused with the second person plural (vosotros) form "elegisteis". We should remember that the correct form is elegiste.

Example:
¿Por qué elegiste el coche rojo y no el azul?

Exit / éxito

"Exit" should be translated in Spanish as "salida". Éxito means success. Thus it is a false friend.

Example:
Su nuevo libro ha tenido mucho éxito.

Explotar / explosionar

Although these words are synonyms according to the Royal Spanish Academy, the use of "explosionar" for the meaning "hacer explosión" or "to explode" is preferred, since "explotar" also has another meaning related to economics - business.  

Example:
Los artificieros explosionaron la bomba.
Los artificieros hicieron explotar la bomba.

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