The mistakes in English that each of us makes
It doesn't matter what your level is. Even native speakers are sometimes confused in these words, argues Lifehacker
1. Lay and lie
This is the pearl of all grammatical errors. Precisely because the words are similar in meaning and in sound. But the nuances still exist. To lie translated Cambridge Dictionary: lie how to "lie", "settle down", "go to bed".
- I love to lie down in front of the fire and read - I like to lie near the fireplace with a book.
But lie - an irregular verb, in the past tense it turns into lay.
- The town lay in ruins - The city was in ruins.
- She laid the baby on the bed - She put the baby on the bed.
In a word, the confusion, of course, is utter, but if you look deeply into it and remember it once, it will be much easier to avoid mistakes.
2. Continual and continuous
- I'm sorry, I can't work with these continual interruptions - Sorry, but I can’t work like that, they constantly interrupt me.
Rђ RІRѕS, continuous Cambridge Dictionary: continuous - it's about something that lasts continuously.
- He spoke continuously for more than two hours - He did not stop talking for more than two hours.
3. Envy and jealous
- In a moment of jealous frenzy, she cut the sleeves off all his shirts - In a fit of jealousy, she shredded the sleeves of his shirts.
But the word also has a second meaning: "annoyance because someone has what you yourself would like." In other words, envy. Just like "envy" translated Cambridge Dictionary: envy and the second word envy.
- He had always been very jealous of his brother's success - He was always very envious of the success of his brother.
- Some of his colleagues envy the enormous wealth that he has amassed - Some colleagues envy his impressive wealth.
So what's the difference? Linguists recognize Jealous vs. Envious The words are often used as synonyms, but 'jealous' has more meaningsthat if we are talking about envy, not jealousy, the differences have almost disappeared, and these two words can be considered synonyms. Although before jealous signified a more serious, terrible and dramatic degree of envy.
4. Fewer and less
Less used Cambridge Dictionary: lesswhen we talk about something abstract and uncountable or don’t mention the exact quantity.
- I eat less chocolate and fewer biscuits than I used to “I eat less chocolates and cookies than usual.”
- We must try to spend less money - We should try to spend less money.
Few и fewer you can safely consume Cambridge Dictionary: few where it is about specific numbers or about something that can be accurately calculated.
- Fewer than 3,500 tigers are left in the wild today - In the wild today live no more than three and a half thousand tigers.
- We received far fewer complaints than expected “We received far fewer complaints than we expected.”
5. Disinterested and uninterested
- A disinterested observer / judgment - an impartial observer / judge.
If it says disinterest and indifference, more correct Cambridge Dictionary: uninterested will use option uninterested.
- He's completely uninterested in sports - He is completely indifferent to sports.
True, not all linguists are united on this issue. Compilers of the Merriam ‑ Webster dictionary for example count them. Disinterested vs. Uninterested: Usage Guidethat these words may be synonyms.
On the subject: How to learn English words: simple and effective techniques
6. Anxious and excited
In Russian, the word “worry” can be used not only in the negative (“I'm terribly worried about you!”), But also in a positive way (“I was so excited when I received your letter!”) Perhaps that’s why, when we speak english, in similar cases we try to use anxious. But this word translated Cambridge Dictionary: anxious as "alarmed, worried, nervous."
- It's natural that you should feel anxious when you first leave home “Worrying when you first leave home,” is quite natural.
If you are glad to see friends, tell them that you anxious to see themwill be wrong. More suitable here excited Cambridge Dictionary: excited (excited). By the way, the word anxiousit is also appropriate if we cannot wait to do something or we are striving for something strongly.
- I'm anxious to get home to open my presents “I can't wait to come home and open presents as soon as possible.”
7. Affect and effect
- Factors that affect sleep include stress and many medical conditions - Causes that affect sleep include stress and various illnesses.
Effect Cambridge Dictionary: effect - this is, in fact, the effect or result of some processes or events.
- I'm suffering from the effects of too little sleep “I suffer from the effects of lack of sleep.”
8. Among and between
Words are similar in meaning, but still not synonymous. Between translated Cambridge Dictionary: between as "between."
- A narrow path runs between the two houses “A narrow path runs between the two houses.”
- The shop is closed for lunch between 12.30 and 1.30 - The store is closed for lunch from half past one to half past one.
Among probably means Cambridge Dictionary: among “Among,” “one of.”
- The decision will not be popular among students - For students (literally - “among students”) this decision will not be popular.
- She divided the cake among the children - She shared the cake between the children.
If we are talking about specific people or objects, it’s more appropriate to talk between, and if about indefinite or generalized, - among.
9. Assure and ensure
It is clear that in both cases we are talking about faith, trust or assurance. But since words sound and spell almost the same, they are easy to mix up. And here it is important to remember that assures is used Cambridge Dictionary: assurewhen we want to assure or convince someone of something.
- She assured them, that she would be all right “She assured them that she would be fine.”
Rђ RІRѕS, ensure Cambridge Dictionary: ensure it is appropriate to use it when we ourselves want to make sure of something.
- Please ensure that all examination papers have your name at the top - Please make sure your exam papers are signed.
10. Then and than
It is easy to confuse these words, but it is better not to do this, because then the sentence will lose its meaning. Just one letter - and what a difference in meaning! Then — adverbWhich translated Cambridge Dictionary: then as "then" and "later."
- She trained as a teacher and then became a lawyer - She studied as a teacher, but then became a lawyer.
Than Cambridge Dictionary: than - an excuse, it is used for comparison.
- It cost less than I expected “It cost less than I thought.”
11. Lose and loose
Here, too, almost the same spelling and pronunciation are to blame. The word "loser" is well known even to those who are not very strong in English. Therefore, it seems that loseand loose - about failures and losses. But it’s important to remember that lose means Cambridge Dictionary: lose “Lose”, “lose”, “lose”.
- I hope he doesn't lose his job “I hope he does not lose his job.”
А loose translated Cambridge Dictionary: loose as “relaxed”, “free”, “loose”.
- A loose dress / sweater - loose dress / sweater.
12. A lot and the lot
There is generally a difference only in article. But in English, even he can significantly change the meaning of the word. Noun lot along with the indefinite article a translated Cambridge Dictionary: lot like "a lot", "a large number."
- I've got a lot to do this morning “I have a lot to do this morning.”
In this case, the lot - British colloquial element, which means not just “a lot”, but “everything”.
- I made enough curry for three people and he ate the lot “I made curry for three, and he ate it all alone.”
13. Amount and number
Here the story is similar to fewer и less. Both words refer to quantity, but amountu consumed Cambridge Dictionary: amountwhen it comes to something vague and uncountable, and number Amount vs. Number: Usage Guide - when we talk about objects or people that can be counted.
- The project will take a huge amount of time and money - This project will require a huge amount of time and money.
- A small number of children are educated at home - A small number of children study at home.
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