False Friends

Source: Wikipedia     "die" (Dutch) - "that one"
 
 
False Friends are words that look similar but have different meanings. They can lead to confusion and embarrassment. Take for example - actual:

Actually there are 100 people on the staff but the company hopes to expand in the near future.
(This is incorrect - "actualmente" doesnt translate as " actually") The sentence should read:

Currently there are 100 people on the staff but the company hopes to expand in the near future.

Depending on the context "actually" can translate as "now", "at present" or "nowadays".

"Actually" is used in a few different ways:

Student: This is my teacher, Graham and he's from England.
Graham: Actually, I'm from Scotland.



Here is an A - Z List of some other False Friends. And here is a list of Fickle Friends; words that are sometimes used similarly, other times not.


Look at this list of sentences that I have created. Can you decide which ones are right and correct the wrong ones?


  1. I'm sorry but I can't assist the class on Thursday.
  2. We need more staff - I can't attend to all the customers when it's busy.
  3. You should take some aspirin if you think you are constipated.
  4. She's 7 months embarrassed; the baby is due in early January.
  5. I just pretend that I know a lot about computing; I don't really.
  6. I didn't realize that the boss had the day off yesterday.
  7. I hope that I'm not molesting you but it is important.
  8. She's too sensible; she cries if anyone critisizes her.
  9. I can't go tomorrow as I already have a compromise.
  10. Appearances can be deceptive - you might be surprised.
Read some mistakes English speakers made when speaking Spanish.




Look through the list and create some examples with the False Friends that you discover.

Comments

Sonia said…
Hello Graham:
I have been looked at your blog and I think that it´s really a different way to study English. Congratulation,you have been worked a lot to do the blog!.

I have decided it about the sentences with "false friends":

1.I´m sorry but I can´t attend the class on Thursday.
2.We need more staff-I can´t serve to all the customers when it´s busy.
3.You should take some aspirin if you think you are catching a cold.
4.She´s 7 months pregnant; the baby is due in early January.
5.I just try that I know a lot about computing; I don´t really.
6.I didn't realize that the boss had the day off yesterday.
7.I hope that I'm not annoying you but it is important.
8.She's too sensitive; she cries if anyone critisizes her.
9.I can't go tomorrow as I already have a promise.
10.Appearances can be disappointing - you might be surprised.

See you next week.
Graham said…
Hi Sonia:

Glad you like the blog! I hope you find the time to make more contributions. The more I see people are making use of the blog, the more likely I will carry on adding to it.

Even if you haven't much time, just add a little comment to let me know that you have read a post or done an exercise.

1. attend the class (correct)

2. I can't attend all the customers (correct) I can't serve all the customers (correct too)

3. catching a cold (correct)

4. pregnant (correct)

5. pretend = "fingir" (so it was correct) try = "intentar"

6. realize (correct)

7. here "bothering you" makes more sense; imagine you call someone when they are at work.

8.sensitive (correct)

9. comprimiso = commitment or obligation

10. deceptive = engañoso ( so here it is correct)

"I HAVE BEEN LOOKING at your blog and I think that it´s really a different way to study English. CongratulationS ,you HAVE BEEN WORKING a lot to do the blog!."

It is surprising how many false friends there are. Have a look at the links on this post and choose a few to learn.

Have a great weekend, Sonia. See you on Monday!
Sonia said…
Hi Graham:
Here there are some sentences with "false friends" that I chose in the list. I think is a complicated lesson to learn:

-I put a beautiful carpet in my living-room.
-These man has a healthy complexion.
-Correspond the words with the pictures in exercise 2.
-When you went at home you´re desperate.
-She met him died with a rope around his neck.
-I couldn´t buy the soap that she told me.
-They have a great success with their new song.

I just remenbered a false friend, it´s "library".

See you later.
Graham said…
Hi Silvia:

There are too many false friends to learn at once. So select a few that you might find useful and then once you are confident with them, select another few to learn.

Here are some sentences with "false friends" that I chose FROM the list. I think IT is a complicated lesson to learn:

-I put a beautiful carpet in my living-room. (OK - a file is "carpeta" on the computer)

-THAT man has a healthy complexion. (OK - complexión is someone's build : small, average, big)

-MATCH the words with the pictures in exercise 2.

-When you went home you were desperate. (not sure why you would say that.... another example I was desperate to go to the bathroom or desperate to have a coffee.)

-She CAME ACROSS him, DEAD, with a rope around his neck. (OK ropa are clothes)

-I couldn´t FIND the soap that she told me to buy (OK - not to be confused with soup)

-They had great success with their new song or Their new song was very successful

Ok that's enough of the false friends for now. Try some of the previous posts from September or October.

Enjoy the weekend!
Angel said…
Hi Graham, I send you the excersise about false friends:

1. I'm sorry but I can't attend the class on Thursday.
2. We need more staff - I can't pay attention to all the customers when it's busy.
3. You should take some aspirin if you think you have got a cold.
4. She's 7 months pregnant the baby is due in early January.
5. I just pretend that I know a lot about computing; I don't really. (right)
6. I didn't realize that the boss had the day off yesterday. (right)
7. I hope that I'm not bothering/disturbing you but it is important.
8. She's too sensitive ; she cries if anyone critisizes her.
9. I can't go tomorrow as I already have a commitment.
10. Appearances can be deceptive - you might be surprised.(right)
Graham said…
Hi Ángel,

That's fine except for nº2. "attend" is fine; "pay attention" means that you should be listening.

Have a good weekend!
Anonymous said…
1. I´m sorry but I can´t ATTEND the class on Thursday.
2. We need some staff -I can´t ASSIT to all the customers when it´s busy.
3. You should take some aspirin if you think you are CAUGHT A COLD.
4. She´s 7 month PREGNAT; the baby is due in early January.
5. It´s ok.
6. It´s ok.
7. I hope that I´m not bothering you but it is important.
8. She´s too SENSITIVE; she cries if anybody criticizes her.
9. I can´t go tomorrow as I already have a COMMITMENT.
10. It´s ok.

See u!

Alonso
Graham said…
Hi Alonso!

All fine apart from Nº2; "attend" is correct.
Hi Graham!! I love this post! ;-)

- I'm sorry but I can't ATTEND the class on Thursday.
- We need more staff - I can't ASSIST to all the customers when it's busy.
- You should take some aspirin if you think you are COLD.
- She's 7 months PREGNANT; the baby is due in early January.
- I just pretend that I know a lot about computing; I don't really. - I DON'T KNOW IF THERE IS A MISTAKE HERE. I THINK IS OK
- I didn't realize that the boss had the day off yesterday. - IT IS OK, ISN`T IT?
- I hope that I'm not BOTHER you but it is important. (VERY EMBARRASED FALSO FRIEND!!)
- She's too SENSITIVE; she cries if anyone critisizes her.
- I can't go tomorrow as I already have a COMMITMENT.
- Appearances can be deceptive - you might be surprised - IT IS OK
Graham said…
Hi Ana,

I'm glad you like it.

Explore the blog and you will find other posts that you will love.


We need more staff - I can't attend to all the customers when it's busy. ( A shop assistant attends to customers :D )

You should take some aspirin if you think you have a cold.

I just pretend that I know a lot about computing; I don't really. (Correct = fingir)

I didn't realize that the boss had the day off yesterday. (Correct = darse cuenta)

I hope that I'm not bothering you but it is important. (a very embarrassing False Friend)


Be sure to check out the links in the post.


Have a nice weekend!