When we learn Spanish, we’re taught that the verb “to come” in English’ directly translates to the Spanish verb ‘venir’. This is the case most of the time, but you have to be careful when translating this English verb into Spanish, as it can lead you into some problems. 

There are many cases in which this translation works:

Ven aquí

Come here

El profesor vino tarde

The teacher came late

Mi nieta viene de visita hoy

My granddaughter is coming to visit today

But there are also cases where ‘venir’ isn’t the most appropriate verb to use. One common mistake is how we would translate the English phrase, “I come from London”. Many native English speakers would be tempted to translate this as 

Vengo de Londres

However, this wouldn’t be correct. Unlike in English where we can say both “I come from London” and “I am from London”, which mean the same thing, we can’t use ‘venir’ in this context in Spanish. Instead we must translate the sentence as

Soy de Londres

Another case is if somebody is knocking on your front door. You’re far away from the door, and you want to let them know that you’re on your way there so they don’t continue to knock or start ringing the bell like a madman. Therefore you shout to them “I’m coming!”. Many learners would translate this into Spanish as:

¡Vengo!

But this is WRONG. The reason is that in Spanish, we can only use the verb ‘venir’ if we are already in the place that you are referring to. For example, if somebody says ‘Ven aquí’, they are referring to “here” and so they are already in that place. But when you are telling somebody that you are coming to the door, you’re not yet at the door, and are instead currently going to the door. This means that the correct translation for “I’m coming!” is actually

¡Voy!

It takes a bit of time getting your head around these nuances of Spanish, but every time you want to say a sentence in Spanish where the English translation would involve the verb “to come”, try to keep these things in mind and it will help you to iron out those mistakes!

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