Jumat, 11 Desember 2020

Some Common Errors of Misusing English Words (Part 5)

 1. Payment/fee

                Or Schneider charges a high payment but he is very good.*
                Or Schneider charges a high fee but he is very good.

payment = an amount of money that is paid for something: 'I had to get rid of the car because I couldn't keep up the payments.' fee = an amount of money paid to a doctor, lawyer, or other professional person: 'The fee for one hour's private tuition is $60.'


                She said she liked the jumper because the color was very peculiar* .
                She said she liked the jumper because the color was very unusual.

peculiar = strange, especially in a surprising or unpleasant way: 'I'm not sure about this cheese. The taste is a bit peculiar.' 'Just because I don't like computers, everyone thinks I'm a bit peculiar.' unusual = uncommon or rare: 'Where did you buy this cheese? The taste is very unusual.' 'At one time it was unusual for women to enter politics.'

3. permit/prevent

                Overpopulation doesn't permit these countries to develop.*
                Overpopulation stops/prevents these countries from developing.

Permit is used in situations where there is a rule, law or authority that controls what people can do: The law permits foreign investors to own up to 25% of British companies.' 'As children we were never permitted to leave the table until everyone had finished.' 

4. personality/character

                He is a man of strong personality who will fight for what is right.*
                He is a man of strong character who will fight for what is right.

When talking about a person's moral quality, use character (NOT personality). Compare: 'For a career in sales, you need a forceful personality.' 'People of character and integrity never turn their backs on the truth.'

5. power/energy

                The illness has left her with no power.*
                The illness has left her with no energy.

A person's power refers to their social, economic or political influence: 'The royal family has very little power these days.' 'The major investors have the power to make or break a company.' When talking about someone's physical condition, use energy or strength (NOT power): 'I don't have the time or energy to go out in the evenings.' 'Her doctor has told her to take things easy until she gets her strength back.'

6. prevent/protect
                Stricter punishments may help to prevent society from serious crime.*
                Stricter punishments may help to protect society from serious crime.

prevent = stop something from happening: 'Bad weather prevented the plane from taking off.' 'Good tires help to prevent accidents.' protect = keep someone or something safe: 'The camera comes with a free leather carrying case to protect it.' 'It is the responsibility of the police and the courts to protect us from these killers and maniacs.'

7. protest/complain

            She told the shop assistant that she wanted to protest about the cardigan                                 she had bought.*
            She told the shop assistant that she wanted to complain about the                                            cardigan she had bought.

protest = say or do something to show that you strongly disagree with something: 'The crowds were protesting against the government's purchase of nuclear weapons.' complain = say that you are annoyed or unhappy about something: 'He's always complaining about the weather.' 'If you think you've been overcharged, you should complain to the manager.'

8. purpose/reason

                The purpose why I have come here is to improve my English.*
                The reason why I have come here is to improve my English.

purpose = what you hope to achieve by doing something; aim: 'The main purpose of the trip is to see Helen's parents.' 'Their purpose in coming here is to promote Australian universities.' reason = the thing that causes someone to do something: 'The reason why she left him was probably to do with his drinking problem.' 'Did they give you a reason for rejecting your application?'

9. quarrel/argue

                Sometimes we quarrel about which program  to watch.*
                Sometimes we argue about which program to watch.

When people quarrel they argue angrily, especially for a long time about something that is unimportant: 'If you two boys don't stop quarrelling, you can go straight to bed.' People can argue without feeling angry or looking silly: 'Most evenings we would sit in the kitchen arguing about politics.'

10. recall/remind

                May I recall you what happened that day?
                May I remind you of what happened that day?

recall (fairly formal) = remember: 'I really can't recall what his wife looks like.' remind = cause (someone) to remember: 'The painting reminded me of my last holiday in Ball.' 'Remind me to buy a new toothbrush while we're out.'

11. refuse/reject

                I refuse the idea that men and women are psychologically different.
                I reject the idea that men and women are psychologically different.

refuse = say no (when someone wants you to do or accept something): 'Some of the staff refuse to attend lunchtime meetings.' 'We can't possibly refuse the invitation.' 'Simon had to refuse the job offer because it would have meant moving house again'. reject = say that you do not support (an idea, belief, suggestion, plan, proposal, etc.): 'Vegetarians reject the theory that you must eat meat to get all the nutrients you need.' 'The belief that a woman's place is in the home has been widely rejected.'

12. resource/source

                Tourism is the main resource of money for these people.*
                Tourism is the main source of money for these people .

resource = (1) something that can be used to make a particular task or activity easier: 'All the teaching resources - books, cassettes and so on - are kept in a special room.' (2) something that a country has and uses to create wealth, such as oil or natural gas: 'Brunei is rich in natural resources.' source = the place where something comes from or the thing from which we can get it: 'We collect the information from various sources.' 'Beans and lentils are a very good source of protein.'

13. retire/resign

      After just two months he retired and went to work for a smaller company.*            
      After just two months he resigned and went to work for a smaller company.

retire = leave your job at the end of your working life, usually because you have reached a particular age: 'In the UK, men usually retire at the age of 65 and women at 60.' 'If you retire early, you won't get your full pension.' resign = leave your job because you do not like it, because you have found a better one, etc.: 'If she doesn't get a salary increase, she's going to resign.'

14. salary/wage

                The basic salary is £60 per week.*
                The basic pay/wage is £60 per week.

A salary is the amount of money that someone earns for a year's work, usually paid once a month directly into their bank account: 'I'll pay you back at the end of the month when I get my salary.' 'She's on a salary of £23,000 a year.' If someone is paid once a week, they receive wages. In the past, wages were always paid in cash: 'He opened the envelope and counted his wages.' When you are thinking about rates or levels of payment (rather than actual coins and bank notes), use wage: 'She earns a pretty good wage.' 'They're demanding a 20 per cent wage increase.' 'They've raised the minimum wage from $4.25 an hour to $5.50.' Pay is a general word for the (amount of) money people get for the work they do: 'He's lost a month's pay.' 'They've been given a pay rise of £20 a week.' Note that in informal styles these words are often used with the same meaning.

15. say/tell

                She said to me to ask you to phone her.*
                She told me to ask you to phone her.

tell sb to do sth (NOT say): 'I told them to wait for you outside.'

16. scene/view

                From the window, there was a beautiful scene of the lake.*
                From the window, there was a beautiful view of the lake.

scene = what you see when you are in a particular place, especially something that is unusual, shocking etc.: 'Some of the scenes inside the concentration camp were too horrific to describe.' 'The President arrived by helicopter to witness a scene of total chaos.' view = the whole area that you can see from somewhere, especially when you can see a long way into the distance: 'Remember to book a room with a view of the sea.'

17. see/watch

                He sat there all morning seeing the planes taking off .*
                He sat there all morning watching the planes taking off.

see = notice something with your eyes, especially without concentrating or paying attention: 'Did you see anyone go out?' Turn the light on if you can't see.' watch = look at someone or something and pay careful attention, especially for a long time: 'She watched the man with interest as he made his way through the crowd.' 'After dinner we usually sit down and watch the news.'. 

18. sensible/sensitive

                Children are very sensible; they all need love and attention.*
                Children are very sensitive; they all need love and attention.

Use sensible to describe someone who makes good decisions based on reason, and never behaves in a stupid or dangerous way: 'I'm glad to see that she was sensible enough to bring some warm clothes.' 'Be sensible - you can't wear high heels to a garden party.' Use sensitive to describe someone who is easily upset or offended: 'He's very sensitive about his weight, so try not to mention it.' 'Don't be so sensitive - he was only joking.'

19. separate/divide

                Americans can be separated into a number of ethnic groups.*
                Americans can be divided into a number of ethnic groups.

separate = place or keep (people or things) apart from one another: ‘Break an egg into a bowl and separate the white from the yolk.’ divide = cause something to consist of (or be seen as) a number of parts, groups, sections etc: ‘The manufacturing process is divided into three stages.’


              My parents weren't at all severe with me. In fact, I was allowed to do                         what I liked.*
              My parents weren't at all strict with me. In fact, I was allowed to do what                  I liked.

severe = not kind or friendly: showing no humour or sympathy: ‘Mr Cameron’s angry voice and severe expression used to frighten the children. strict = demanding that rules or laws are always obeyed: Teachers have to be strict or the children take advantage of them.’ ‘The company is very strict about employees getting to work on time.’


                She spoke very shortly about how they had lived during the war.*
                She spoke very briefly about how they had lived during the war.
shortly = (1) impatiently; not politely: ‘He answered rather shortly that he was NOT the slightest bit interested.’ (2) very soon: The accident happened shortly after they moved into their new house.' briefly = for a short time: ‘We talked briefly about the financial side of the agreement and then moved on to other matters.’

22. silent/quiet

                 After a hard day’s work, I like to be silent.*
                 After a hard day’s work, I like to be quiet.

silent = without any sound at all: ‘Apart from the regular ticking of the clock, the room was completely silent.’ quiet = without unwanted noise or activity: peaceful: ‘After a few quiet days in the countryside, we felt ready to face London again.’


                I knew that if I fell into the sea, I would sink.*
                I knew that if I fell into the sea, I would drown.

Sink is used in connection with ships, boats and objects which go down and disappear beneath the surface of water: ‘The ship had been holed in the collision and was beginning to sink.’ Drown is used in connection with someone who dies because water stops them from breathing: ‘One of the boys had fallen into the river and drowned.’

24. skillful/talented 

                ‘You’re lucky to have such skillful children,’ she said.*
                ‘You’re lucky to have such talented children,’ she said,

skillful = having or showing skill (gained from instruction and practice): ‘Although he lacked Tyson's knock-out punch, he was the more skillful of the two boxers.’  talented = having or showing a natural ability to do something well: This talented young musician gave his first public performance at the age of five.’

25. speech/talk

                I was invited to make a speech on the radio .*
                I was invited to give a talk on the radio.

A speech is usually made by a politician or by an important person at a meeting, social occasion, or dinner: ‘The Prime Minister's speech included a fierce attack on the unions.’ A talk is usually informative and is often given by a lecturer: ‘The title of Dr Chase’s talk is “Solar Energy and the Nuclear Debate”.’

26. stranger/foreigner

                There are a lot of strangers visiting England.*
                There are a lot of foreigners visiting England.

stranger = a person you have never met before: ‘Although he was a total stranger, he started asking me for money!’ foreigner = a person from another country: ‘Foreigners need a visa to enter the country.'

27. subconscious/unconscious

                The driver of the car was taken to hospital subconscious.*
                The driver of the car was taken to hospital unconscious.

subconscious = (of a thought or desire) existing or occurring in the mind without the person being aware of it: ‘His dream about crossing the ocean single-handed probably arose from a subconscious desire for fame.' unconscious = (of a person) in a sleep-like state, especially because you are ill or have been hit on the head: The cleaner found him lying unconscious on the bathroom floor'

28. surely/definitely 

                It was an absolutely terrible flight. The next time I go to Rio, I will                         surely go by train.*
                It was an absolutely terrible flight. The next time I go to Rio,  I will                         definitely go by train.

Surely is used to express a strong belief in the truth or likelihood of what you are saying, and often to encourage the listener to express agreement: ‘Surely they should have arrived by now!’ ‘A twenty-dollar parking fine! Surely someone’s made a mistake!’ ‘You don’t need to wear a coat in this weather, surely?’  Definitely expresses a sense of complete certainty about something: ‘She said she’d definitely be back by dinner time.' This is definitely the best film she’s ever made.’


Turton and Heaton. 1996. Longman Dictionary of Common Errors. England: Pearson Education Limited. 

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