Typical Mistake by Spanish and Italian Students: Double Subjects

Posted on November 22, 2018

By Emily Stallard, Owner at Orchid English


This is a post for adults learning English whose first language is a Latin one. In our company English classes around London we teach lots of Latin students who work here.


Additionally, about 15 years ago I taught English in the pretty Italian city of Naples. I’m learning Spanish at the moment so I have some Spanish friends as well as Spanish students of English. This is a typical mistake by Spanish and Italian students that we teachers hear on a regular basis:


  • Does your teacher correct the same mistakes over and over again?
  • Yes, my teacher she always corrects my grammar.


Hold on! What’s the mistake here? Let’s look at the reply.


Native speakers only use constructions like “my teacher… she” if they get distracted and there is a long pause after the subject. Then it turns out we have to start a new sentence.


This is the kind of thing a native speaker might say:


  • My teacher… oh, yes, could we have two medium lattes, please? …She explains complicated grammar in a really simple way.


So what should you say in the first example sentence? You have to choose a noun or a pronoun, but not both together:


  • My teacher always corrects my grammar
  • She always corrects my grammar


There is a useful quiz here to test your knowledge and ingrain the habit of using only one subject.


Read more about typical mistakes made by Latin students here in our previous posts: How to recognise and avoid using double negatives, and how to say you will pay for someone else.


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