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English Grammar  

MISTAKE - ERROR - FAULT
The difference in meaning between them.


The words  'mistake', 'error' and 'fault are often confused or misused.
‘Mistake’ and ‘error’ are interchangeable in certain contexts:
For example, documents can contain both errors and mistakes, e.g. in grammar, spelling or details.

 MISTAKE (noun or verb)
The word 'mistake' can have different meanings depending on the context:

1) An unintentional wrong action, usually accidental or through inadvertence.
A mistake can also be due to occasional lapses or something done too hastily.
- « I made a mistake in his phone number. I wrote 243 instead of 245. »
- « There’s a mistake in the address. It’s Beach Road not Beacon Road. »
- « I made a mistake when I took exit n°13. I read the directions too quickly.»
- « Make sure you check the text for spelling mistakes before you submit it.»

2) Midguided judgement:
- « It was a mistake to send the boy to boarding school ; he was very unhappy. »
- « Coming here was a mistake ; it was a waste of time. »
- « She made the mistake of not taking her doctor's advice.»
- « Their decision to sell the house was a huge mistake. »

3) Failure to differentiate :
- « It’s easy to mistake one twin for the other »
- « I mistook your umbrella for mine. I took yours by mistake! »
- « Don't mistake the two buildings. The entrances are very similar. »
- « I mistook the salt for the sugar! »
 ERROR (noun only)
The word 'error' can also have different meanings :

1) Something wrong due to lack of knowledge or inaccurate information:
- « It was an error to include ‘good’ in the list of adverbs. ‘Good’ is an adjective. »
- « The brochure contains errors concerning the history of the region. »
- « She has visited the museum yesterday" is a grammatical error.
- « The air crash was due to human error. »

2) In computing there can be errors.
We write an error message but not a mistake message.
- « We lost a week’s work due to a computer error. »
- « Due to a computer error, the meeting was wrongly scheduled. »
- « Unfortunately, the computer error was detected too late. »
- «The gas company blamed a computer error for the cancellation.»

Note: Machines don't make mistakes ; they make errors. Humans can make both.
 FAULT 
The word 'fault' can be used to convey different meanings:

1) Blame or responsibility:
- « It’s my fault if we’re late. I took a wrong exit and we got lost. »
- « Don't worry about forgetting the cake!  It's not your fault
- « It’s Jack’s fault that the dog got out. He left the window open. »
- « The actor's poor image is partly the fault of the press.»

2) Weakness or imperfection in a person’s character:
- « He has many faults, but dishonesty isn’t one of them. »
- « In my opinion Emily’s worst fault is impatience. »
- « He loves her in spite of all her faults
- « Nobody is perfect. We all have our faults.»

3) A defect in a machine, system or design (causing damage or malfunction):
- « The car has a serious design fault. »
- « The fire was due to an electrical fault. »
- « An electrical fault suddenly left us without power. »
- « A brake system fault was the cause of the accident. »

Note: A blunder is a foolish or embarrassing mistake, especially one resulting from carelessness or lack of thought (a botch, a foul-up, a faux-pas) e.g. a political blunder.
"The politician made a blunder by making a premature announcement."


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