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For most of us, English is still a challenge. With all its irregularities, exceptions and rules, English is a very difficult language to master.
With that in mind, rediff.com presents our English Bloopers series. Here, we publish written and spoken mistakes spotted and sent to us by observant Get Ahead readers. It's a great way to review the basics, clarify a few issues and share a laugh or two!
Jagruti Sharma, director of
Example: 'Loose' and 'lose'
Many people make this mistake. They inevitably interchange the words 'loose' and 'lose' while writing. 'Lose' means to 'suffer a loss or defeat'. Thus, you would write:
~ 'I don't want to lose you," and not 'I don't want to loose you.'
'Loose', on the other hand, means 'not firm' or 'not fitting.' In this context, you would write,
~ "My shirt is loose," not "My shirt is lose."
Twice a week, we'll provide the most common homonyms in the English language. We'll go in alphabetical order. Today, let's look at the letters 'F', 'G' and 'E'.
any of several sides or aspects of something, as in: We carefully considered every facet of the problem.
spigot or tap, as in: The dripping of the faucet kept me awake.
funny, not serious, as in: His father didn't like his facetious remarks about such a serious subject.
artificial, as in: Her factitious laughter didn't fool anyone.
imaginary, as in: This story is completely fictitious.
make easy, as in: Computer programmess facilitate letter-writing.
congratulate, as in: His parents called long-distance to felicitate the happy couple.
(1) ease of doing something, as in: The gymnast showed her facility with the parallel bars.
(2) something made to serve a function, as in: Visitors are invited to tour our new kitchen facility.
great happiness, as in: The trip to the country was a time of felicity for me.
lose consciousness, as in: For a minute, I thought I was going to faint.
pretend to strike a blow, as in: His strategy was to feint with his right hand while preparing to deliver a mighty blow with his left.
exhibition or marketplace, as in: We bought these baskets at the local farmers' fair.
cost of a ride in a vehicle, as in: I would like to go by airplane but I can't afford the fare.
experience good or bad results, as in: We'll see how our business fares with the new marketing plan.
more distant in space, as in: Each day I try to walk a little farther than the day before.
additional or more, as in: If there are no further questions, we will adjourn the meeting.
scare or worry, as in: The flash-flood warnings didn't seem to faze him at all.
aspect or stage of development, as in: Most two-year-olds go through a rebellious phase.
noteworthy deed, as in: Her performance on the ice concluded with a remarkable feat of agility and speed.
plural of foot, as in: These shoes hurt my feet.
not as many as (applies only to number), as in: Only people with fewer than ten items should use Express Lanes in the supermarket.
not as much as (applies to extent, degree, bulk), as in: There is less chance of misunderstanding if you choose the right word.
concluding part, as in: I had to leave the show early, so I missed the finale.
in the end, as in: After competing many times, he finally won the Gold Medal.
(1) excellently, as in: She stood out from the others because she was finely dressed.
(2) in small pieces, as in: For extra flavour add one cup finely chopped onions.
state or quality of being nearly perfect, as in : This gold jewelry is of exquisite fineness.
tactfulness or smoothness, as in: We must handle that customer with utmost finesse.
type of evergreen tree, as in: He planted a fir tree in the front yard.
animal hair, as in: My dog has black and tan fur.
financial, as in: The fiscal year begins July 1.
relating to the body or the material world, as in: I must make an appointment with my doctor for a physical examination.
talent, as in: You have a flair for the dramatic.
(1) a signalling device using bright light, as in: We used a flare gun to tell the rescue team where to find us.
(2) outward spread, as in: I could tell you were mad by the flare of your nostrils.
make a showy display, as in: It is considered rude to flaunt one's wealth in front of others.
treat with contempt, as in: Rebellious youths flout authority.
struggle clumsily, as in: I forgot my speech and had to flounder around for something to say.
sink, collapse, or fail completely, as in: The iceberg caused the ocean liner Titanic [Images] to founder.
ground wheat powder, as in: Make a paste of flour and water.
a blossom, as in: The child handed his mother a flower.
past tense of fly, as in: The birds flew south every winter.
short term for influenza, as in: I can't come to work today because I have the flu.
passage to let air or gas escape, as in: Don't block the chimney flue or the house will fill with smoke.
a preposition meaning on account of or because of, as in: She was fired for stealing.
at or to the front, as in: Out of all the software makers in the world, his company has come to the fore.
one more than three, as in: We have four children in our family.
abstain or refrain from, as in: I will forbear mentioning his name again.
ancestor, as in: Most people have at least one forebear they admire.
preceding, as in: The foregoing paragraph is about the words forbear and forebear.
doing without, as in: To save time, we are forgoing the usual formalities.
brief and simple introduction in a book, as in: The foreword was written by a noted scientist.
onward or toward the front, as in: Despite the obstacles, he kept moving forward to his goal.
done in a valid and binding way, as in: They formally announced their engagement a month ago.
previously, as in: She was formerly the mayor of New York.
military post, as in: The fort was surrounded.
something in which a person excels, as in: His forte is design and hers is business, so they make a great team.
forward, as in: She came forth to meet him.
next after third, as in: This is the fourth time we have met.
person with exceptional intelligence or talent, as in: Only a genius can assemble that puzzle.
kind, sort, or classification, as in: The dog, the wolf, and the coyote belong to the same genus.
jeer or taunt derisively, as in: I would never gibe someone because it's unkind.
agree with, as in: His alibi doesn't jibe with the testimony of eye-witnesses.
(1) framework of iron bars, as in: Clean out the ashes under the grate in the fireplace.
(2) scrape or shred, as in: I will grate the cheese next.
extraordinary or outstanding, as in: You did a great job on your term paper.
decided based on little evidence, as in: I didn't know the answer to that question on the test, so I guessed.
visitor, as in: Thank you for treating me so well while I was a guest in your country.
(1) salute, greet or call, as in: You hail a cab while I watch our bags.
(2) ice shower, as in: We didn't get snow, but we got hail.
healthy and strong, as in: Astronauts must be hale and hearty people to cope with the hardships of space travel.
passageway or large room, as in: Her office is down the hall.
drag or transport, as in: He earned extra money by using his truck to haul vegetables to the local farmers' fair.
mend or restore to health, as in: Keep the wound clean and dry and it will heal in a few days.
part of a foot or part of a shoe, as in: I have a blister on my heel from all the walking we did.
promoting good health, as in: A healthful diet builds strong bones.
possessing good health, as in: I am thankful I am healthy.
perceive by ear, as in: Did you hear that noise?
in this place, as in: She came here to study.
past tense of hear, as in: We heard the news and were shocked.
flock or large group of animals, as in: The younger elephants stayed in the center of the herd for protection.
person who inherits something, as in: The heir chose to put the castle up for sale.
our atmosphere, as in: The air quality where I live is not very good.
taller, loftier, above normal, as in: Prices keep getting higher.
employ, as in: The company wants to hire a part-time worker.
hollow place or cavity, as in: The groundhog peeped out of his hole in the ground.
complete or entire, as in: Bread made from whole grains is healthful.
plant of the Ilex genus, as in: We have a hedge of holly bushes on our property.
sacred or pure, as in: The people refused to build there because they considered it holy ground.
completely or entirely, as in: The company is wholly owned by one family.
sixty minutes, as in: It seemed like I waited an hour, but it was only twenty minutes.
form of to be, as in: What are you doing tonight?
belonging to us, as in: Please visit our Web site and see our new book reviews.
of mankind, as in : Imagination is a human trait.
kind and good, as in: They joined a group of students working for more humane treatment of animals.
excessively critical, as in: It's impossible to please a hypercritical person.
deceptive, just pretending to be good, as in: It is hypocritical to say tell your children to behave a certain way and then do the exact opposite yourself.
MORE English bloopers
If you'd like to share common bloopers you come across when people speak/ write in English, do mail your list, along with their correct alternatives to firstname.lastname@example.org -- we'll highlight them right here as a helpful guide to those trying to improve their English. Also, make sure you include your FULL NAME, AGE, OCCUPATION and the CITY you are based in.
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