On the Run with Confusing Words!

February 4, 2024

¡En la carrera con palabras confusas!

All languages have confusing words. We get used to them in the language we grow up speaking, but confusing words can be troublesome when learning a new language. Worst of all, they can add to confusion and frustration when we are trying to learn Spanish. 

Oh no, we don’t want to feel confused and frustrated! 

¡Ah no, no queremos sentirnos confundidos y frustrados!

Don’t worry! ¡No te preocupes!

Boulder Spanish is here to help with great instructors, an emphasis on natural conversation, and a fun and effective approach to learning, including becoming familiar with and adding some confusing words to your vocabulary with confidence – con confianza.

In this blog post, and from time to time in future ones, we’ll tackle some confusing words in Spanish so you can get used them. I will offer some methods for practicing confusing words and a few ideas to straighten out some specific examples. Hopefully, this will assist you with your Spanish so that you can keep moving forward with greater clarity and certainty.

As I’m learning Spanish, I come across new vocabulary words that confound me. It may be a word I’ve already learned but with a different meaning, or two different words that sound or look very similar but have very different meanings. !Ay, caramba!

Here’s one idea. I like to write these confusing words together on the same notecard or piece of paper. I want to look at them together and observe what makes them similar and different from each other. Next, I’ll write the meaning or meanings for each word. Now I can practice these words and their meanings in an organized collection. For me, when confusing words are presented together, I find it easier to discover the details and make distinctions of the different spellings and meanings of the words. 

One such collection of words involves the Spanish verb correr – to run. I found that some words in this collection involve the root of the verb correr, and have related meanings to correr. Other words in this collection have very similar spellings, but the words are not related to correr and do not have related meanings either. Take a look. Echar un vistazo.

Here is my collection (so far) of confusing words similar to correr, and those that begin with “corr-

Correr – to run 

Correa – strap or belt

Corredera – sliding (puerta de corredera = sliding door), rail (track), and cockroach!

Corredor - hallway

El/La Corredor(a) – runner (male/female)

Corregir – to correct 

Correo – mail 

Correoso – tough 

Correría – raid 

Corretear – to play and run around, to loiter

Corriente – common (not extraordinary), current (ongoing), running (flowing)

Corrillo – huddle, a small group of people

Corrimiento – movement, slipping, displacement, and also embarrassment (vergüenza) or shyness (timidez)

Corromper - to corrupt

Carrera – a race, a career

Carretera – highway, road

Carro – car, automobile

Cartera – purse, handbag, billfold, briefcase 

For me as a Spanish language student, seeing a collection of “confusing” words altogether in one place helps me to see how they are similar or different, related or not. Does this new word begin “corr-” or “carr-”? Does the meaning have to do with movement, running, a path or track of movement, or not?

Being able to study confusing words in this way helps me to increase my Spanish vocabulary. I can also find some useful ways to remember these similar-looking words in the future. 

Ciertamente, hay muchas más palabras que comienzan con “corr-,” pero este es un comienzo. 

Of course, there are many more words that begin with “corr-,” but this is a running start – un comienzo corriendo. 

And just for fun, Y solo por diversion

La corredora corre por la puerta corredora, recorre el corridor, y recorre la carretera con su cartera, su correo, y su correa.

(The runner runs through the sliding door, down the hallway, and down the road with her purse, her mail, and her belt.)

Tengo que correr ahora. Nos vemos pronto,