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How to change “I don’t” to “I am”

I hear it all the time, you probably do too. In fact you’ve probably said it yourself at some point on your language-learning journey.

I’m talking about those words that slip out of your mouth, almost uncontrollably when you come face-to-face with a native speaker…

No hablo Español

Now, you know that it’s not true. You’ve been learning for months and definitely have more Spanish than you did last time you were visiting. Only, you just don’t feel ready to say that you speak Spanish;

Hablo Español

Not yet anyway.

You don’t want the person you are speaking to to think you don’t know what they’re talking about, but at the same time you don’t want to lose face – which will result in them reverting back to English with you.

No, you want to continue for as long as you can muddling your way through the conversation in your target language. You want them to speak slower in Spanish. That’s why you shouldn’t tell them you don’t speak Spanish and need to tell them you’re learning Spanish;

Estoy aprendiendo Español

Saying this not only let’s them know you’re learning Spanish, it also tells them that you’re open to a conversation. And well, that’s what we want isn’t it…to practise!

There’s a lot more to this sentence than first meets the eye. Estoy comes from the verb Ser (one of the Spanish “to be” verbs). And the verb aprender means to learn. It’s an -er ending verb and is in it’s gerund form in this phrase (the equivalent of the -ing in English). In fact estoy aprendiendo together form what is know as the Present Progressive Tense or Present Continuous Tense which is the tense we use to talk about an action happening right now.

So, next time you find yourself in a situation where you can practise your Spanish don’t say no hablo Espñol, say Estoy aprendiendo Español instead and see how much of a difference it makes!

And if you’d like to hear how to pronounce that phrase and understand a little more of the grammar behind hit, watch this mini lesson below.

And if you’re ready to take your learning further check out my website for up-coming courses. www.adventuresinspanish.co.uk

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