Creer, Crear and Criar
Here are a few more of the most common mistakes in Spanish vocabulary: Three verbs that are spelled very similarly and sound almost exactly alike, especially if you're still getting used to the language.
Creer: Most Spanish learners will encounter this verb--literally, "to believe"--early on in the course of their learning. Whether you're religious or not, you may have some success connecting this word with an image of the church or iglesia, a place where "to believe" is of critical importance.
Crear: This word is close to both creer and criar in more than spelling. Meaning, literally, "to create," it's a critical component of both bringing up young and most belief systems. Because it's so very close in spelling to the English word create, most find it fairly easy to remember crear. Just swap the -r at the end for -te and you're right back to create. If you need a strong mental image to connect it with, try that of a potter working at the potting wheel. After all, what do artists do? They create.
Criar: Criar means literally to breed or bring up. Nos criaron is "They brought us up..." As it happens, the word cria--the young of any animal--is closely related. Once you link the idea of cria with a cute seal pup, it doesn't take much to remember that criar refers to bringing that pup up or raising it. The same word can be applied to humans; the image of the seal is just so much easier to commit to memory and recall.