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Thread: error & mistake

  1. #1
    Ju is offline Senior Member
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    Red face error & mistake

    1) There is a mistake.
    2) There is an error.

    3) I made a mistake.
    4) I made an error.


    What is the difference between 1) & 2)?
    What is the difference between 3) & 4)?

    Actually what is the difference between mistake and error?

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Default Re: error & mistake

    It's not as easy as that. It is somewhat a question of context and maybe register. The two words mean the same thing but there are times when only one will do.

    For example in this sentence only mistake would be appropriate: 'It was a mistake to ask Helen to come on the trip'.

    Alternatively

    'This was a serious error of judgement.' Mistake cannot be used in this sentence.

    Sometimes it's not so obvious.
    'I looked at his maths homework and there were number of errors in is calculations.' In this sentence error is better.

    'You have made a number of mistakes in your English essay'. Here mistake is more appropriate.

  3. #3
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    MikeNewYork is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: error & mistake

    Quote Originally Posted by Ju View Post
    1) There is a mistake.
    2) There is an error.

    3) I made a mistake.
    4) I made an error.


    What is the difference between 1) & 2)?
    What is the difference between 3) & 4)?

    Actually what is the difference between mistake and error?

    Thanks
    Your pairs of sentences are equivalent in meaning. Personal preference aside, there are few instances in which the two words cannot be interchanged.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: error & mistake

    mmmmmm.....***NOT A TEACHER***Even native speakers do not agree about these words. Many English speaking people use "error" and "mistake" interchangeably. But I think there is a difference: (1) mistake = I know that I did something wrong. If I say 2 + 2 = 5, that is a mistake because I know that 2 + 2 = 4. (2) error = I do not know that I did something wrong. I speak only a little German. If I try to speak German, I will make many errors because I do not know the rules of German grammar.
    Last edited by flatron; 10-Jan-2010 at 01:34. Reason: Word order.

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