Three (More) Common Mistakes in English

“To work as” or “To work like”

Catalan and Spanish speaking students often have problems knowing whether to use “as” or “like.”  In fact, this is quite simple.  “As” means exactly the same as and “like” means similar to.

For example:

“He works as a doctor” is the same as “He is a doctor.”  The same is true in Catalan and Spanish.   Treballa com a metge/Trabaja como medico have the same meaning as És metge/Es medico.

However, “like a doctor” means similar to a doctor.

For example:

“He works like a doctor” means that his job is similar to that of a doctor, but not the same as one.

“A dentist works like a doctor” means that the profession of a dentist is similar to that of a doctor, but a dentist is not a doctor.


“To know” or “To meet”

These two verbs also cause many problems for students, but in fact the difference is easy to understand and avoid.  “To know” is almost always used to translate saber or coneixer/conocer.

For example:

I know the answer

Sé la resposta/Sé la respuesta

I have known John for years

Fa anys que conec el John/Hace años que conozco a John

However, you use the verb, “to meet,” to describe the first time that you became

acquainted with or were introduced to a person.

For example;

I met John ten years ago.

Vaig conèixer al John fa deu anys /Conocí a John hace diez años


«Actually or Currently»

This one is also very easy to correct and avoid.  “Actual” in English does not mean “currently.”  It means “in fact”  or “in reality.”  Students often make this mistake because the English word looks similar to a Catalan and Spanish word.

For example:

En John no viu actualment a Barcelona/ John no vive en Barcelona actualment

These sentences would be translated into English with the adverb, “currently”

For example:

John doesn’t currently live in Barcelona


John isn’t currently líving in Barcelona

The English sentences “Actually, John lives in Girona” or “Actually, John is líving in Girona” would be translated in Spanish of Catalan as En realitat, en John viu a Girona/En realidad, John vive en Gerona.

Written by Mike Dean Alger for Aston School

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