Today, written communication has become very important in society. Many employees, like secretaries, write on a daily basis to different commercial partners to ask for products or keep business relationships updated. People also have to produce different kinds of documents for different purposes: applying for a job, writing research articles, writing letters to their boss, etc. And, one aspect that readers usually pay attention to is orthographic mistakes.

Of course, there are less formal situations in which it is not very important to check the spelling of your writing. The level of correction is different depending on the kind of writing. For example, when I post a comment of facebook, it doesn’t matter if my spelling is right or not. But, what happens when I want to make a good impression on an important reader?

This short article provides you with some of the most common spelling mistakes that people make when they write in Spanish. Enjoy!


1) Ahí, Hay and ¡Ay!


Many Spanish speakers can’t tell the difference between these three words.


First, Ahí (there) is an adverb of place used to point where the person or thing we are talking about is.

Example: Ahí está tu llave.

Your key is over there.

Hay is the impersonal form of the verb “haber” (there is/are), which is used to show that something exists or happens.

Example: Hay mucha gente en el estadio.

There are a lot of people at the stadium.

¡Ay! is an interjection, usually employed with exclamation marks, that is used to express sudden pain.

Example: ¡Ay! ¡Me pegué en la cabeza!

Ouch! I hit myself on the head!


2) Echo and Hecho

Only an “H” separates these two words, but it makes a big difference. The first one is the conjugation of the first person singular of the verb “echar”.

Example: Te echo de menos.

I miss you.

The second one is the past participle form of the verb “hacer” (to do).

Example: He hecho mi tarea.

I have done my homework.

You can catch a glimpse of this on social networks: some people write “te hecho de menos”, without realizing that they are making an orthographic mistake.


3) Haya, Halla, Allá


The first of these three words, Haya, has three different uses. It can be the subjunctive form of the verb “haber” (to have). It is also the name of a tree, the European beech (whose scientific name is fagus sylvatica). And finally, it refers to the city of “the Hague” in Europe.


No creo que haya sido él.

I don’t think it was him. 

Había muchas hayas en el bosque.

There were a lot of European beech in the forest.

La Haya está en los Países Bajos.

The Hague is in the Netherlands.


Halla is the third person singular form of the verb “hallar” (to find).

Example: Él siempre halla una forma para salir de sus problemas.

He always finds a way to overcome his problems.


Allá (there) is an adverb of place used to point out where the thing or person we are talking about is.

Example: Allá está María.

María is there.


4) Vaya and Valla

Vaya is an interjection which is used to show either surprise or disappointment, it usually goes with exclamation marks.

Example: ¡Vaya! No podremos ir al teatro, se canceló la función.

Gosh! We won’t be able to go to the theater, the show was cancelled.

Valla is a structure made of wood that is put between two areas of lands as a boundary (fence).

Example: La valla marcaba el limite entre las dos tierras.

The fence marked the boundary between the two lands.


5) Yendo and Llendo

This is a very interesting misspelling that native Spanish speakers make.

Yendo is the gerund of the verb “ir” (to go).

Example: Estoy yendo a la fiesta de María.

I am going to Maria’s Party.

And, what is Llendo? Well, surprise! It doesn’t exist in Spanish… well, not at least in the grammar books or dictionaries, but many people use it without noticing this serious mistake.


6) Haber and A ver

If you have a look at social networks, you will probably find this mistake in many comments by native Spanish speakers.

Haber (to have) is an auxiliary verb used to form tenses that need the participle form.

Example: Yo he visitado el museo dos veces.

I have visited the museum twice.

A ver is a colloquial spoken expression used to say that you have the desire to see or watch something.
Example: ¿A ver? ¿Qué traes en esa bolsa?

Can I see what you’ve got in that bag?

I hope this article will help you realize and prevent a FEW of the common misspellings you may find when learning Spanish. Of course, there are many more. But, don’t worry, we are going through this together. It is just part of the language learning journey.


Image by Keith Williamson (CC BY 2.0)