Confusing words: shame, provoke, blame

I think it might be a good idea to share things that come up in class.  That way you can learn from other students' mistakes and difficulties.


When asked about Bottle's speech, José Luis said "What a shame!"

Knowing he isn't a fan of Ana, I think he meant: "How embarrassing! / What an embarrassment!"

So what is the difference?


Grammatically:  What + (a) + noun ! / How + adjective !



We say What a shame! / that's a shame to express disappointment; similar to pity.
  • A: Madrid didn't win the Olympics.       B: Really? Oh, that's a shame.
  • A: I didn't get the job.     B: What a shame!
The above examples shame would be translated as pena.

But in other contexts shame would be translated as verguenza:

The above tweet could be translated as Debería darles vergüenza asistir...

We could also use the adjective ashamed: People should be ashamed to attend San Fermin.

Ashamed describes the bad feeling or guilt someone has about something.

The thing that causes that bad feeling can be described as shameful:


So I'd translate to be ashamed as tener vergüenza and shameful as vergonzoso.



I suppose How embarrassing! could also be translated as Qué vergüenza! but embarrassment isn't such a bad feeling as shame ie shame is worse  than embarrassing. We feel embarrassed about silly things (some of us go red) but feel ashamed about more serious matters.

We say What an embarrassment! / How embarrassing! when something makes us feel uncomfortable (it could be something you or another person does)
  • I couldn't remember his name. How embarrassing!
  • His zip/fly was open when he was giving the presentation. What an embarrassment!

I'd translate embarrassing as embarazoso. Could you translate an embarrassing moment as un momento violento???




We say What a disgrace! / that's a disgrace to express anger about more serious things.
  • It's a disgrace that the government subsidises bullfighting while making cuts in the health service.
  • A: Have you read this? MPs have awarded themselves a big pay-rise. B: What a disgrace!

I think that disgrace would translate as vergüenza too. How about deshonra?? I've never heard it used.

The only adjective form would be disgraceful  (vergonzoso) which is used to describe something that is shocking.
  • I think it's disgraceful that he hasn't phoned his sick mother.

As far as I know, we never translate disgrace as desgracia (= bad luck) or disgraceful  as desgraciado (= unlucky)


Write an example each with shame/shameful/ashamed, embarrassing/embarrassment and disgrace.






When we were talking about the dangers of getting a tan, Rodrigo said that using sunbeds can provoke cancer. He should have said that using sunbeds can cause cancer.

What's the difference between provoke and cause?


Anything that causes a strong reaction / feeling like anger is said to provoke:
  • Zidane headbutted Materazzi in the World Cup final because he was provoked.
  • The government's decision to go to war provoked outrage.


Whereas cause is simply making something happen:
  • Scientist still don't know what causes alzheimer's.
  • She caused the accident because she was speaking on her mobile.

Give an example each with provoke and cause.



We also came across blame and fault in Cristina's and Rodrigo's class while talking about Botella's speech.


A: Who broke the vase? Was it you?
B: Don't blame me. It wasn't my fault.

Fault usually takes the noun form (la culpa) while blame often takes the verb form (echar la culpa).


Consider these other examples:
  • Whose fault is it that we didn't get the contract?
  • He was at fault. I think he went through a red light.

  • She blames her husband for leaving the door open.
  • Who is to blame for this mess?

  • Don't try to put the blame on me. You should take some responsibility for what happened.
  • If something goes wrong,  I always get the blame. It's so unfair.



Write some examples with blame and fault.



Comments

Rodrigo said…
Hey, my name is on Internet!

I'm glad I helped to write this post.
lucia said…
Examples:
Shame/shameful/ashamed
A: I lost my Passport and I couldn’t travel to New York!
B: Oh! That’s a shame, then you wasted the opportunity to attend the presentation course in the university.
Shame on those who attend the festival of Tordesillas.
A : Indian male should be ashemed to support sexual abuses in political demonstrations
A: It was shamefuf the Ana Botella’s speech to support the spanish project for Olimpic Games in Argentina.
A: Spanish King Juan Carlos broke his leg when he was huntting elephants . What a shame!

Embarrassing/Embarrassment
A: I didn’t say hello her because I couldn’t see, I hadn’t my glasses. How embarrassing!
(I think that you can traslate “an embarrasing momento” as “ un momento bochornoso”)
A: When Spanish King Juan Carlos broke his leg in Botswana was with Corrina. What a embarrassment!
Disgrace
A : Nowday in Spain a foreign people can’t be assited by healthsevice.
B: Really? What a disgrace!
Provoke/cause
Smoke twenty cigarretes a day can cause cáncer.
The goverment don’t value the success of the Diada’s demonstration in Catalonia, It can provoke anger in the Catalan people.

Blame/Fault
Ana Botella’s speech had many faults, though Iput the blame on the Spanish Project , its economic breakdown and its basic sport politics

Lucía
Graham said…
Hi Rodrigo!

I'm sure you will provide me with lots of useful material for the blog. LOL
Graham said…
Lucía,

Some great examples. Some of them very faaaaaaanny. :D


A: I lost my Passport and I couldn’t travel to New York!

B: Oh! That’s a shame, then you missed the opportunity/chance to attend the presentation course in/at the university.

A : Indian men should be ashamed to support sexual abuse in political demonstrations.

A: *Ana Botella’s speech to support the Spanish bid for the Olympic Games in Argentina was shameful.

*Don't use "the" before someone's name.
*Be careful not to use two subjects that refer to the same thing ie It + AB's speech.

A: Spanish King Juan Carlos broke his leg when he was hunting elephants . What a shame! (I am sure you are being ironic)


A: I didn’t say hello to her because I couldn’t see, I didn't have my glasses. How embarrassing!
(I think that you can traslate “an embarrasing momento” as “ un momento bochornoso” - yes, you can!)

A: When Spanish King Juan Carlos broke his leg in Botswana, he was with Corrina. What an embarrassment!

A : Nowadays in Spain, foreigners can’t be assisted by the health service.

B: Really? What a disgrace!

Provoke/cause
Smoke twenty cigarettes a day can cause cancer.

The government doesn’t value the success of the Diada demonstration in Catalonia, It can provoke anger in the Catalan people.


Ana Botella’s speech had many faults/mistakes, though I put the blame on the Spanish bid , its economic breakdown and the politics of its sport.


Montse said…
Graham, I 've read this one too.
luciti said…
Hi Graham!
thanks for your corrections!

Lucía.