Yesterday, Ana was "doing" an English class on-line. I heard a few things that didn't impress me including "I will be here at one unless the train is late" but ignored them. Finally, she plays something that is, more or less, "We are going to eat lunch. Would you like to join us?" The operative problem word being "join".
She asks me what join means. I hesitate, trying to think of how I would say this in Spanish and, probably more important, how I would say this in "clear English". The answer was the same. The second sentence would be replaced with "Would you like to come with us" or "eat with us".
Having written classes, I recognize these problems. The classes I have done are pretty much like any other foreign language class—computer classes. In this case, I explained to her that "to join" is "to connect" and a different concept was being expressed. ...
Well, today's update is she sees the cover of the latest Linux Journal. In big letters it says "The votes are in!". She asks me what it means. I think. I say "Los votos está". She tries to correct to "Los votos son" waiting for the next word. I explain that adding in (en) to the end of the sentence won't work in Spanish and, well, what it really is saying is "Los votos eatá aquí or "Tenemos los votos" (which actually is probably more confusing as it implies something like "enough people will vote for us".
The biggest thing I have learned (but she hasn't yet) is that if you try to work at the word level, you are going to get confused regularly.