Pet Peeves: Mis Manias

Let’s talk about some of the most common mistakes that I see in the classroom.


So many of my students confuse “fun” and “funny”. It has become one of my biggest pet peeves (manias)! Please remember that the general rule is:

FUN = divertido, te lo pasas bien
FUNNY = gracioso, algo que te hace reír

Woodward English, one of my favorite websites, has a better explanation that is worth reading: http://www.woodwardenglish.com/difference-between-fun-and-funny/ Be sure to do their mini-quiz at the end of the article!


The second issue I want to study today is the phrase “Shut up.” Teachers, one should not use this phrase in the classroom unless you’re at your wit’s end. “(Please) be quiet” is the much more polite alternative.

Imagine the situation:

  1. Please be quiet.
  2. I’ve already told you once. Be quiet.
  3. You’re not paying attention. Be quiet!
  4. Guys, I’m serious, BE QUIET.
  5. SHUT UP.

My eighth grade English teacher wouldn’t even allow us to say “shut up” in her classroom!


The word pis.

I know, it’s basically socially acceptable to utter the words “voy a hacer un pis” or something similar. Please, don’t directly translate this phrase into English! Believe it or not, I was once told: “Can you watch my class? I am going to do a piss!” That’s… VULGAR! Remember, we’re not as direct in English. A much better alternative is: “Excuse me, I need to go to the bathroom/washroom/toilet/powder room.”


These are the first three big mistakes I can think of right now. I am certain that this will turn into a series of articles about my pet peeves.

What are your English/Spanish pet peeves? What are the most common mistakes you have seen?

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