Por Nick Potter

English Tips for Spanish professionalsIn  this series we look at real-life examples of the most common mistakes in English by native Spanish lawyers.

These and lots more invaluable tips are available in a new e-book/paperback, here: 50 English Tips for Spanish Professionals.

anticipate, advance

We’ve already looked at a few false friends – words or expressions that have a similar form to one in a person’s native language, but a different meaning.

Some false friends are false in particular forms e.g. as verbs.

When writing emails in Spanish you may often use forms of the verbs anticipar and avanzar.

Question: Only ONE of A – F below contains correct usage of the English words anticipate or advance. Which?

A

As we anticipated you in our last email, under Spanish law both the chairman and secretary have to sign

B

Our view is that we should only anticipate the insolvency administrator that we would like to have a specific meeting about this as soon as possible

C

I have just received a call from the client anticipating to me that they are ok with the approach proposed

D

As advanced during the call this morning, the CNMV has serious concerns

E

Once the Power of Attorney is notarised and apostilled, we would be grateful if each relevant lender can anticipate us a PDF copy

F

Many thanks in advance

In English, the verb anticipate means, among other things:

  • To expect or predict e.g. ‘We don’t anticipate a recession in Europe’, says Barroso.
  • Look forward to e.g. Fans are eagerly anticipating the new Star Wars films (Or, as Yoda would say, “Eagerly anticipating the new Star Wars films they are”).

Advance, as a verb, means, among other things:

  • To move forward in a purposeful way e.g. The troops advanced on the city.
  • To make progress e.g. To advance medical research.
  • To make a loan or pay somebody before money is due e.g. The employer advanced him a month’s salary.

As an adjective,  advance can refer to something done, sent or supplied beforehand or earlier e.g. advance notice, advance warning, advance payment. Also common are the phrases “in advance”, meaning ahead in time, and “in advance of”, meaning ahead of; before.

Often, the verbs anticipar and avanzar are used to refer to earlier or advance communication, close in meaning to the adjective “advance” and phrase “in advance” but not the verbs anticipate/advance.

So A-E are all wrong. Here, the verbs anticipar/avanzar translate as the verbs to mention, to tell / let somebody know, or to send (earlier or in advance).

A

As we anticipated mentioned (to you) in our last email, under Spanish law both the chairman and secretary have to sign

B

Our view is that we should only anticipate just tell the insolvency administrator that we would like to have a specific meeting about this as soon as possible

C

I have just received a call from the client anticipating to me letting me know / telling me that they are ok with the approach proposed

D

As advanced mentioned during the call this morning, the CNMV has serious concerns

E

Once the Power of Attorney is notarised and apostilled, we would be grateful if each relevant lender can anticipate could send us a PDF copy

Only F is correct because it uses the phrase “in advance”.

F

Many thanks in advance [CORRECT]

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