False Cognates 18: Whose fault is it?

False Cognates 18: Whose fault is it?

False Cognates 18: Whose fault is it?

Let’s create story about a car accident.

Yesterday Maria was (1) driving to school and she got into an accident. She (2) crashed her car against the school gate. She almost ran away from the scene but she realized that running away would be (3) a crime so she stayed there until the police arrived. She admitted it was her (4) fault in the end.

Question: What Spanish words do you use to translate the bolded words (1)-(4)?


(1) to drive = conducir
(2) to crash = chocar
(3) a crime = un delito
(4) the fault = la culpa

So when you want to say “a bus driver” you need to use “el conductor”. It sounds much more like “a conductor of an orchestra”. The word for “a conductor of an orchestra” is “el director” like “a director”. I guess a conductor can be considered as a director of his/her orchestra.

  • conducir, manejar = to drive
  • el conductor = a driver

El conductor de autobús siempre fumaba mientras conducía.
(The busdriver always smoked while driving.)

  • el director = a director

El director de la orquestra quiere practicar todos los días para el concierto.
(The orchestra conductor wants to practice everyday for the concert.)

  • llevar a cabo = to conduct, to carry out

Un grupo de mujeres llevaron a cabo de un gran proyecto para niños desfavorecidos.
(A group of women carried out a great project for disadvantaged children.)

(2) “Chocar”? Doesn’t it sound like “to choke”? Well, “ahogar” or “sofocar” are the Spanish words for “to choke”. Technically speaking “to choke” means “to suffocate”.

  • chocar = to crash

Mi mamá chocó su carro y ahora está en el hospital.
(My mom crashed her car and now she is in the hospital.)

  • ahogar, sofocar = to choke

Es fácil que los bebés se ahoguen con comida sólida.
(It is easy for babies to choke on solid food.)

(3) “Delito” sounds just like “to delete” to me. So the first time I heard it and found out it meant “a crime”, I was confused… I hope this won’t be the case for you after you read this blog.

  • un delito = a crime

Cuando cometen algunos delitos, por supuesto, tendrán que ir a la cárcel.
(When they commit some crimes, of course, they have to go to jail.)

  • borrar = to delete

Juan borró todos los datos de su computador por accidente.
(Juan deleted all data in his computer by accident.)

(4) “Culpa” and “falta” are the other false cognates that are worth memorizing.

  • una culpa = a fault

Lo siento, es mi culpa que no podemos ir al concierto. Olvidé totalmente comprar los billetes y están completamente agotados.
(I am sorry, it is my fault that I can’t go to the concert. I totally forgot to buy the tickets and they are completely sold out.)

  • la falta = lack, absence

Es una falta de respeto de su parte. No puedo creer que Maríaia les hablara de esa manera a sus padres.
(It is lack of respect on her part. I can’t believe that Maria talked to her parents that way.)

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