Difference Between Errors and Mistakes in English Language Learning


In English language learning we know the terms Errors and Mistakes. Learners sometimes make mistakes, but sometimes they make errors. Errors and mistakes are two similar terms but they are different in meaning. So, what is the difference?

What does Error mean?

Error is a wrong way made by learners but they cannot realize the mistake. Although the teacher reminds the error made, they still cannot fix it.

Observe the following example of error made by a student.

Joana: I am is a student of university.

Teacher: Sorry?

Joana: I am is a student of university.

Teacher: I am a ....

Joana: I am is a student of university.

The short conversation above shows that Joana makes an error. She cannot re-correct his mistake. We conclude that Joana makes an error because she doesn't know her own mistake.

What does Mistake mean?

Mistake is wrong way made by learners when producing language skills and they can realize the mistake. After someone or the teacher remind the mistake, they can fix the mistake.

Observe the following conversation:

Jenny: John is my friend. She is very clever.

Teacher: Can you say that again? John is my friend. and ....

Jenny: John is my friend. He is very clever.

The conversation above shows that Jenny makes a mistake. She can realize the mistake and fix it after the teacher remind her. Sometimes learners only slip of the tongue so he/she makes mistake. But after being reminded, he/she can make it true.

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