False Friends!

Se denominan false friends (falsos amigos) o false cognates (falsos cognados) a las palabras que por escribirse de la misma forma (o parecida) en español son confundidas, pero que en realidad en inglés significan otra cosa.

Por ejemplo, “conductor ” en inglés no significa conductor, sino que se refiere al director de la orquesta o al cobrador que se encuentra en los autobuses.

In this post, we’re going to focus on English-Spanish false friends.  Here are some more examples!

English: ‘library’ [meaning: a place where you borrow books]
Spanish: ‘librería’ [meaning: a place where you buy books]
Example:  The London Public Library is one of my favorite places to read and borrow books.

English: ‘topic’ [meaning: a theme or subject]
Spanish: ‘tópico’ [meaning: cliché]
Example: Last night the conversation turned to many topics, including the war in Iraq, the economic crisis and universal healthcare.

English: ‘argument’ [meaning: disagree strongly]
Spanish: ‘argument’ [meaning: reasoning to comnvince]
Example: They realy hate each other, they are always arguing!

English: ‘informal’ [meaning: casual]
Spanish: ‘informal’ [meaning: unreliable]
Example: Our workplace is very informal; we’re allowed to wear anything we want!

English: ‘content’ [meaning: satisfied]
Spanish: ‘contento’ [meaning: happy]
Example:  I’m content with the progress we’ve made on our project.

English: ‘to realize’ [meaning: to become aware of]
Spanish: ‘realizar’ [meaning: to put into effect]
Example:  It took a long time, but the Bush administration finally realized that the war in Iraq was a mistake.

Do yo know of any others you would add?