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  1. Key Member
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    #1

    "to make the mistake of doing something" or "to make a mistake in doing something"

    Hello,

    Is there any difference between "I made the mistake of eating too much before I went to bed" and "I made a mistake in eating too much before I went to bed"

    Could you help me distinguish between the meaning of the two structures?

    I have always thought that there is only one proper structure "to make the mistake of doing something". Today I learnt that the structure "to make a mistake in doing something" was also in force.

  2. teechar's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: "to make the mistake of doing something" or "to make a mistake in doing something

    Quote Originally Posted by JACEK1 View Post
    Is there any difference between "I made the mistake of eating too much before I went to bed" and "I made a mistake in eating too much before I went to bed"
    They essentially mean the same. However, the first suggests that the person knows that such a mistake already exists.

    Quote Originally Posted by JACEK1 View Post
    I have always thought that there is only one proper such structure "to make the mistake of doing something". Today I learnt that the structure "to make a mistake in doing something" was also exists. in force.
    Yes, and there's even "I made a mistake by eating too much before bed time."

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    #3

    Re: "to make the mistake of doing something" or "to make a mistake in doing something

    Does "I made a mistake by eating too much before bed time" differ greatly from "I made a mistake in eating too much before bed time?"

  4. teechar's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: "to make the mistake of doing something" or "to make a mistake in doing something

    No.

  5. Key Member
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    #5

    Re: "to make the mistake of doing something" or "to make a mistake in doing something

    So they mean almost the same thing.

  6. teechar's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: "to make the mistake of doing something" or "to make a mistake in doing something

    Yes.

  7. jutfrank's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: "to make the mistake of doing something" or "to make a mistake in doing something

    I don't think of make a mistake in doing something as a structure in itself. At least not in the same way that the more idiomatic make the mistake of doing something is.

    As teechar mentions above, the latter, in using the ... of ... gives the suggestion that the mistake made is one that is known to have been made before, if not by the speaker himself, then by others.

  8. Key Member
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    #8

    Re: "to make the mistake of doing something" or "to make a mistake in doing something

    Since "to make the mistake of doing something" is more idiomatic, maybe it would be more appropriate to use this form whether someone realises such a mistake or not.

  9. jutfrank's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: "to make the mistake of doing something" or "to make a mistake in doing something

    Not necessarily, no.

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