English Lesson: Fault, Mistake, Error, or Blunder?

Use fault when explaining who is responsible for something bad.
It’s my fault that the car was stolen. I left the window open.
It’s my mistake the car was stolen. I left the window open.
Use mistake or error for talking about something that you did or thought which was wrong. Error is slightly more formal than mistake.
We lost a week’s work due to a computer error.
I still make lots of mistakes in my essays.
I still make lots of faults in my essays.

And here are some words related to fault, mistake, error, and blunder. This is taken from Cambridge Dictionary.

blunder (noun)
a big mistake, usually caused by lack of care or thought:
Examples:
He said that the tax was a major political blunder.
I made a bit of a blunder by getting his name wrong.

bug (COMPUTER) (noun)
a mistake or problem in a computer program:
Example:
A bug caused the company’s computer system to crash.

defect (FAULT) (noun)
a fault, problem or lack in something or someone that spoils them or causes them not to work correctly:
Examples:
All R45 aircraft have been grounded, after a defect in the engine cooling system was discovered.
There are so many defects in our education system.
It’s a character defect in her that she can’t ever accept that she’s in the wrong.

error (noun)
a mistake:
Examples:
He admitted that he’d made an error.
The letter contains a number of typing errors.
Human error has been blamed for the air crash.
With something as delicate as brain surgery, there is little margin for error (= you must not make mistakes).

failing (WEAKNESS) (noun)
a fault or weakness:
Example:
His one big failing is that he never says he’s sorry.

false alarm (noun)
an occasion when people believe incorrectly that something dangerous or unpleasant is happening or will happen:
Examples:
Three fire engines rushed to the school only to discover it was a false alarm.
She thought she was pregnant, but it turned out to be a false alarm (= she discovered she was not).

false move (noun)
an unwise action which is likely to have an unpleasant or dangerous effect:
Examples:
We can’t afford to make any false moves once we’re in enemy territory.
“One false move and you’re dead! (= I will kill you)” shouted the gunman.

fault (MISTAKE) (noun)
1- a mistake, especially something for which you are to blame:
It’s not my fault she didn’t come!
She believes it was the doctor’s fault that Peter died.
The fault was/lay with the organizers, who failed to make the necessary arrangements for dealing with so many people.
Through no fault of his own, he spent a week locked up in jail.
2- a weakness in a person’s character:
He has many faults, but dishonesty isn’t one of them.
3- a broken part or weakness in a machine or system:
The car has a serious design fault.
I think it’s got an electrical fault.
For all its faults, our transport system is still better than that in many other countries.
4- a mistake made when hitting the ball over the net, in tennis or a similar game, to begin a game

flaw (noun)
a fault, mistake or weakness, especially one that happens while something is being planned or made, or which causes something not to be perfect:
Examples:
I returned the material because it had a flaw in it.
There’s a fatal flaw in your reasoning.
This report is full of flaws.
a character flaw

mistake (WRONG ACTION) (noun)
an action, decision or judgment which produces an unwanted or unintentional result:
Examples:
I’m not blaming you – we all make mistakes.
[+ to infinitive] It was a mistake for us to come here tonight.
This letter’s full of spelling mistakes.
I’ve discovered a few mistakes in your calculations.
Why am I under arrest? There must be some mistake.

by mistake
accidentally:
Example: I’ve paid this bill twice by mistake.

slip (MISTAKE) (noun)
a small mistake:
Example:
She’s made one or two slips – mainly spelling errors – but it’s basically well written.

slip of the tongue
when someone says something that they did not intend to say:
Example:
I called her new boyfriend by her previous boyfriend’s name – it was just a slip of the tongue.

And these are some questions and answers related to the words:

#1. It is a ……… to argue with your friends.
(a) error
(b) fault
(c) mistake
(d) slip

Answer: It is a mistake to argue with your friends.

#2. The new assistant made a ……… and as a result all the accounts were messed up.
(a) slip
(b) fault
(c) misunderstanding
(d) blunder

Answer: The new assistant made a blunder and as a result all the accounts were messed up.

#3. Don’t blame yourself, it’s not your ………!
(a) fault
(b) error
(c) slip
(d) misunderstanding

Answer: Don’t blame yourself, it’s not your fault!

#4. The engineer was quick to point out the technical ……….
(a) faults
(b) slips
(c) errors
(d) blunders

Answer: The engineer was quick to point out the technical errors.

#5. I can understand your Spanish in spite of the grammar ……… you make.
(a) mistakes
(b) slips
(c) defects
(d) misunderstandings

Answer: I can understand your Spanish in spite of the grammar mistakes you make.

#6. Sorry, I didn’t mean to say this, it was a ……… of the tongue.
(a) slip
(b) mistake
(c) fault
(d) error

Answer: Sorry, I didn’t mean to say this, it was a slip of the tongue.

#7. Whose ……… is this? Yours, I’m afraid.
(a) blunder
(b) slip
(c) fault
(d) error

Answer: Whose fault is this? Yours, I’m afraid.

#8. Your composition is full of ……….
(a) defects
(b) mistakes
(c) faults
(d) slips

Answer: Your composition is full of mistakes.

#9. You will make a terrible ……… in introducing her to your parents.
(a) blunder
(b) slip
(c) error
(d) defect

Answer: You will make a terrible blunder in introducing her to your parents.

#10. The child broke the expensive vase but it was his mother’s ……… for letting him play close to it.
(a) error
(b) defect
(c) fault
(d) blunder

Answer: The child broke the expensive vase but it was his mother’s fault for letting him play close to it.

#11. I haven’t done this and you are making a terrible ……… in suspecting me.
(a) error
(b) mistake
(c) blunder
(d) gaffe

Answer: I haven’t done this and you are making a terrible mistake in suspecting me.

#12. Elizabeth realized that it had been a ……… to take her daughter to the house where her father was killed some years before.
(a) mistake
(b) slip
(c) fault
(d) misunderstanding

Answer: Elizabeth realized that it had been a mistake to take her daughter to the house where her father was killed some years before.

#13. The accident was due to the ……… of the driver.
(a) slip
(b) error
(c) blunder
(d) lapse

Answer: The accident was due to the blunder of the driver.

#14. Without her glasses she made a ……… and filled in the wrong form.
(a) error
(b) blunder
(c) lapse
(d) fault

Answer: Without her glasses she made a blunder and filled in the wrong form.

#15. Jacqueline is a good secretary but lately she often makes ……… in such simple things as typing and uploading information.
(a) blunders
(b) errors
(c) faults
(d) misunderstandings

Answer: Jacqueline is a good secretary but lately she often makes errors in such simple things as typing and uploading information.

#16. My literature teacher speaks so quickly that he often makes ……… of the tongue.
(a) mistakes
(b) faults
(c) slips
(d) blunders

Answer: My literature teacher speaks so quickly that he often makes slips of the tongue.

#17. Don’t even think of shifting the blame on me, please! It’s not my ……… for what happened.
(a) fault
(b) error
(c) gaffe
(d) misunderstanding

Answer: Don’t even think of shifting the blame on me, please! It’s not my fault for what happened.

#18. I wouldn’t call this a bad mistake, it is simply a ……… of the pen.
(a) error
(b) blunder
(c) gaffe
(d) slip

Answer: I wouldn’t call this a bad mistake, it is simply a slip of the pen.

#19. It is written here that I have a sister but there must be some ……… because I am an only child.
(a) error
(b) misunderstanding
(c) fault
(d) slip

Answer: It is written here that I have a sister but there must be some misunderstanding because I am an only child.

#20. He was in a coma for more than two weeks after the accident but now he has woken up and the doctors say he has a ……… of memory. He can hardly remember what had happened.
(a) gaffe
(b) lapse
(c) slip
(d) error

Answer: He was in a comma for more than two weeks after the accident but now he has woken up and the doctors say he has a lapse of memory. He can hardly remember what had happened.

#21. There must be some ………, I think we have come to the wrong house.
(a) error
(b) fault
(c) mistake
(d) slip

Answer: There must be some mistake, I think we have come to the wrong house.

#22. The train crash was due to a ……… of the engine-driver and many people died because of his carelessness.
(a) blunder
(b) slip
(c) misunderstanding
(d) inaccuracy

Answer: The train crash was due to a blunder of the engine-driver and many people died because of his carelessness.

#23. You shouldn’t worry about this, it was only a ……… of the tongue and no one really noticed.
(a) misunderstanding
(b) slip
(c) mistake
(d) blunder

Answer: You shouldn’t worry about this, it was only a slip of the tongue and no one really noticed.

#24. I am telling you from my personal experience — don’t go there on holiday, it will be a ………!
(a) error
(b) misunderstanding
(c) blunder
(d) mistake

Answer: I am telling you from my personal experience — don’t go there on holiday, it will be a mistake!

#25. All the information was lost because of an ……… in the computers.
(a) incorrectness
(b) inaccuracy
(c) error
(d) inexactness

Answer: All the information was lost because of an error in the computers.

#26. He paid a lot of money for the high quality machinery but a lot of technical ……… started to appear in the long run.
(a) errors
(b) blunders
(c) slips
(d) gaffes

Answer: He paid a lot of money for the high quality machinery but a lot of technical errors started to appear in the long run.

#27. It is the first time Jason has written a love letter and no wonder he made a few ……… of the pen out of excitement.
(a) blunders
(b) slips
(c) mistakes
(d) errors

Answer: It is the first time Jason has written a love letter and no wonder he made a few slips of the pen out of excitement.

#28. Julia married to an old rich man when she was only eighteen because all she wanted was to be rich. Years later she realized it was a big ……….
(a) error
(b) blunder
(c) inaccuracy
(d) mistake

Answer: Julia married to an old rich man when she was only eighteen because all she wanted was to be rich. Years later she realized it was a big mistake.

#29. At the beginning of our marriage we had some ……… but little by little we smoothed them away.
(a) mistakes
(b) faults
(c) misunderstandings
(d) gaffes

Answer: At the beginning of our marriage we had some misunderstandings but little by little we smoothed them away.

#30. What he did was inappropriate to his social status, as a president of the country he didn’t realize what a ……… he had made.
(a) mistake
(b) error
(c) misunderstanding
(d) gaffe

Answer: What he did was inappropriate to his social status, as a president of the country he didn’t realize what a gaffe he had made.

Advertisements

2 Responses to English Lesson: Fault, Mistake, Error, or Blunder?

  1. Th. Hof says:

    Good explanation of “mistake, error, fault, and similar words.
    Have a nice day.

  2. A very useful and enlightening post. Shed light on the difference between the word that seem to have similar meanings.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: