Some new CAE strategies soon! First, however, I’d like to share with you the lists I’ve prepared for my Spanish-speaking students here in San Sebastian. The knowledge of false friends is essential for many aspects of the Advanced Exam – from Use of English (especially 1 and 3) to Writing.

The following nouns have different meanings (all or some) in Spanish and English. Read their complete dictionary definitions to be sure you know the difference.


You don’t study a “career”.

It’s very rare to have a favourite “plate”.

A “conference” usually takes a whole weekend.

“Parking” is an activity, not a place. So is “camping”.

“Ambience” does not equal a lot of people in a nice bar.

“Formation” is not connected with education.

“Suburbs” have no negative connotations.

“Compromise” has nothing to do with your mobile phone contract.

You don’t go to college when you are six.

You don’t go to an “institute” when you are a teenager.

You don’t get your bachelor’s degree in your teens.

A park contains not equals a playground.

A carton is what you our milk out of, not a box.

A brick is not a container.

A container can be any size.

A recipient is a person.

A “tupper” is a Spanglish word and so are “touristic”, “sportive”, “informatics” and a “relax”. Sorry!

Nobody is “crack” or a “machine”. A baby is not a “creature”

A “globe” is not a toy.

“Constipation” happens to a different body part.

A “lecture” doesn’t involve books.

A “notice” is not something new.

“Lanterns” are not used in emergency.

“Jubilees” are not people.

People didn’t fight with “spades”, not on regular basis at least.

A “tramp” is a person, not a situation. Remember that “trump” also exists and has different pronunciation!

A “chimney” is not a fireplace.

Illusions are usually sad.

An “agenda” is not a diary.

A “monitor” is not a person.

A “bank” is not a piece of furniture.

“Installation” has little to do with sports. You are looking for “facilities”.

A “fabric” is not a place.

An “escape” has little to do with “fumes”.

“Collars” are not romantic presents.

An “abortion” is never natural.

An “editorial” is a piece of writing.

A “camp” is not a pitch or a court and a “colony” is not a summer c


A “sauce” is not a tree.

“Footing” is not a sport.

“Arena” is not always filled with sand.

Students don’t go around with carpets.

A “menu” is not “dish of the day”.

“Competence” is something positive.

“Deception” is not when you expected ice cream and didn’t get it.

“Delight” is not a crime.

A language has hundreds of “idioms”.

The above is not a “phrase”.

A “manifestation” is not a protest.

A “recollection” is not collecting things, nor is it religious.

“Accommodation” is related to hotels.

An “apartment” is any “flat”, but a “flat” is never a “floor”.

People don’t study “letters”. They study science though.

You can write a letter to your local “authorities”. But your “correspondence” is not going to be about train connections.

Not every murderer is an assassin.

A “motor” is only  part of a “motorbike”.

A ” motorist” drives any car.

Don’t use the word “bitch”, but it does not mean a “prostitute”.

“Blouses” are for women only, and “suits” are for men.

“Dining rooms” are at home, “cafeterias” are at schools and hospitals.

“Casualties” are people.



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