English words whose ambiguity can be confusing
How many meanings can an English word have? “Many, many, terribly many!”, The students will say and they will be right. However, as a rule, these values will be close or similar, for example: dance - “dance” or “dance”, love - “to love”, “love”, “love”, “beloved”. But there are also words in which the meanings diverge so much that they become opposite. We will dwell in more detail on the 10 most frequently used polysemantic English words collected by the site. Eng Blog.
1. A beautiful day is a huge fine. The word fine
The first word that opens our list is the word end. We all know the word end has a positive meaning: “beautiful”, “excellent”. But the word end there is a completely opposite meaning in colloquial English - “bad”. Naturally, in order for your interlocutors to understand the negative meaning of the word, you need to pronounce it with a certain intonation, anger or neglect, that is, you need to emotionally highlight this word.
"Are you all right?" - "Everything's just fine, thanks!" - "Are you okay?" - "Everything is fine! Thank you!".
That's a fine thing to say about your mother after all she's done for you! - It's ugly to say that about your mother, after all that she has done for you.
Dave picked a fine time to leave us. - Dave chose a completely inappropriate time to leave us.
end as a noun means not a very pleasant thing - "fine." For example, a parking fine - "parking ticket in the wrong place."
So: My day was fine, but I got a huge fine! - I had a great day, but I received a huge fine.
2. I made a fire in the office and they fired me. Word fire
Word nature usually it means “fire”, “flame”, “fire”, “burn”, “burn”, “burn”.
Animals are usually afraid of fire. - Animals are usually afraid of fire.
We put up our tents and made a fire. - We set up tents and made a fire.
Fire it also matters to “fire."
And secretary was fired after she was caught stealing from the company. -
The secretary was burned when they discovered that she was stealing from the company. “The secretary was fired when they discovered that she was stealing from the company.”
So: I made a fire in the office and was fired. “I started a fire in the office, and they fired me.”
3. Do you think he is mean? Word mean
Word mean surrounded by a halo of negative meanings: “greedy”, “vile”, “rude”.
Nick is too mean to buy her a ring. “Nick is too stingy to buy her a ring.”
She was really mean to me. - She really meanly treated me.
But the word mean there is a completely opposite meaning - “very good”.
She is a mean piano player. -
She is a vile pianist. “She plays the piano very well.”
Phrase no mean means that someone is a very good specialist or is well versed in something.
My friend is no mean cook. -
My friend is not a sneaky cook. “My friend is a great cook.”
And all these meanings apply only to the adjective meanas a verb it is translated “to have meaning”, “to mean”, “to mean”.
So: Do you mean he is mean? “You mean he's greedy?”
4. At break, do not break anything! Word break
Word break usually used to say that something has broken, crashed, collapsed, broken.
She fell and broke her arm. - She fell and broke her arm.
He didn't know he was breaking the law. “He did not know that he was breaking the law.”
These sentences can lead to a dead end for someone who is used to the meaning of the word from school - “break”, “change”, for example coffee break.
I need a break from studying. “I need to take a break from my studies.”
So: Don't break anything during the break! - Do not break anything during the break.
5. I like him because he looks like me. Word like
We used to use the word like in the meaning of "like": he likes spending his evenings in front of the television “He likes to spend evenings in front of the TV.” And we know for sure that in the third person singular, the ending must be added to the verb -s: someone likes you (someone likes you). Therefore the song Adele “Someone like you”Caused many to ask: what is it? Grammar mistake? Not at all, this is just another meaning of the word like - "similar," "such as."
Someone like you. You're acting like a complete idiot. “Someone like you.”
You act like you love a complete idiot. You act like a complete idiot
So: I like him because he is like me. “I like him because he is like me.”
6. Feel free to use this for free. Word free
Everyone has heard the words free, freedom - “freedom”, “free”. But here we go to the Internet to download some program or music, and we see free music, in this context, this does not mean that the music is free, it means that it can be downloaded for free. The second meaning of the word free - "free." Phrase feel free means "do not be afraid", "do not be shy."
Feel free to say what you want. - Do not be afraid to say what you want.
So: Feel free to use it for free. - Feel free to use this for free.
7. There is little space in the room. Word room
As soon as we start learning English, we learn the word roomwhich means "room", "hotel room".
I want to book a room. “I want to reserve a room.”
And so the phrase “Is there enough room for me in the car? ”May be confusing. But you need to remember that the word room there is another meaning - “place”, “space”.
Is there enough room for me in the car? -
Is there enough room in the car for me? “Is there enough room in the car for me?”
So: It's not enough room in this room. “There is not enough room in the room.”
8. If you can’t manage a business, run to work. Word run
If you are asked to translate a word run, you will not hesitate to say - “run” and you will be right: I ran, he runs, they will run - "I was running," "he is running," "they will run." Verb run irregular, three forms of the verb must be remembered by heart: run - ran - run. The verb run There are several meanings, one of which is “lead,” “govern.” But you can also distinguish such values: “pass”, “go on schedule”, “become”.
He runs a restaurant. -
He runs around the restaurant. - He runs a restaurant
So: If you cannot run a business, run to work. - If you can’t manage a business, run to work.
9. ... and then turn right, is everything clear? Word right
Word right we most often use in the meaning of "right", "right", explaining how to get somewhere.
Turn right and go straight on. - Turn right and go straight ahead.
But right there is still meaning - “true”, “right”, “understandable”.
Sometimes this word can be used twice in one sentence, as, for example, in this video, and confuse inexperienced students.
So: Turn left, right? - Turn left, okay?
10. I have no mood to discuss his mood, because he is in a bad mood. The word mood
Usually the word mood of its own. used in the meaning of "mood". We often say:
I'm in a good mood. - I have a good mood.
But in the idiom be in a mood word mood of its own. takes a negative value.
Don't talk to him - he's in a mood. - Do not talk with him - he is in a bad mood.
Adjective moody also has a negative meaning - “sullen”.
He was a moody teenager. - He was a sullen teenager.
To be in the mood for something means "be in the mood to do something."
I'm not really in the mood for shopping. “I'm not in the mood to go shopping.”
So: I'm not in the mood to discuss his mood because he's in a mood. - I'm not in the mood to discuss his mood, because he is not in the mood.
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