A couple of weeks ago, here in Medellin, Colombia, a friend came to visit me from the States and I heard him make a mistake with Spanish that I never heard anyone make before.
This short lesson is courtesy of Patrick Jackson – LearningSpanishLikeCrazy
But I would imagine that many people make the same mistake because the words are so easy to confuse.
Let’s say my friend’s name is Mike (not his real name). One evening, I introduced Mike to a Colombian friend. At first he was doing very well with his Spanish. He asked her in Spanish where did she work. She responded that she worked in a hospital and he understood her. Then I heard him ask her:
¿Usted es enferma o doctora?
Why this is a common Spanish mistake?
First of all: do you recognize the common Spanish mistake that Mike made?
The word “enfermero/a” means “nurse.” But the word “enfermo/a” means “patient” or “sick person.” So instead of asking her is she a nurse or a doctor, he actually asked her is she a patient or a doctor.
He should have asked her:
¿Usted es enfermera o doctora?
While we are on the topic of medicine, here are a couple of useful words that I have heard used in Latin America:
1. Aguja – needle
Ella prefiere que la pinchen con una aguja a tragar esa pastilla.
She’d rather they stick a needle in her than have to swallow one of those pills.
2. Ampolla – syringe
El médico sacó una ampolla de antibiótico para administrárselo al enfermo.
The doctor took out a syringe of antibiotic to administer to the sick person.