Monday, July 9, 2012

Common Error: Taste, Try, Test, and Prove

This is a picture of me sampling (tasting/trying) different batches of coffee at a tasting room in Palmares. This is my dream job! (Picture by Angela Jimenez) 

Good afternoon! Today is Mistake Monday, so I wanted to continue with our senses theme. This week's sense is taste. Today's Common Error is actually a series of confusing words and errors. Most of them are related to the Spanish verb probar, which can be translated into a few English words. Have a look:

Common Error: Taste, Try, Test, and Prove
DON’T say this:"I haven't proved your tacos. Can I have a test?"
"Tomorrow we will prove five different types of coffee."
WHY?Basically, all of these words can be expressed with the verb "probar" in Spanish. But there are different uses for each in English:

-Taste is to put something into your mouth to experience its flavor (saborear in Spanish):
"This pizza tastes wonderful!"
"I am sick and have a stuffy nose so I can't taste very well."

-Try can also be similar to "taste" if you're talking about food, but it can also mean to attempt to do something (like intentar in Spanish):
"Would you like to try a piece of this cake I made?"
"I will try to come to class on time."

-Test can also mean to "try," but we don't normally use it with food. It's more commonly used to see if something functions correctly, or with evaluations and exams (similar to evaluar in Spanish):
"Our teacher is going to test us on our new vocabulary."
"I took my DVD player to the repair shop, but when they tested it they couldn't find the problem."

-Prove means to demonstrate that something is true or real. It's often used in science and math:
"Isaac Newton did experiments to prove that gravity exists."
"The suspect proved to the police that he was innocent."
INSTEAD, SAY THIS:-"I haven't tried/tasted your tacos. Can I have a taste?"
-"Tomorrow we'll try/taste five different types of coffee."

I hope my explanations make sense. If you try to use them in different situations, please tell me how it goes! On Wednesday we'll look at more vocabulary related to these words, especially taste. If you have any questions or comments, please leave a comment or contact me. Thanks for reading, and have a great week!


  1. Thank you a lot for your explanations. They are very good. I'd like to have more examples. But it's great what you made. Thank you.

  2. Hi Mr./Ms. Anonymous,

    Thanks for your comment. Did you want more examples of all four?


  3. Thanks for the fab explanation! It's really clear :)

  4. It's the best explanation I've found for my russian student! Thank you so much!!!

    1. I'm glad to hear that it was useful! Thanks for the comment!


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