1. Blower's daughter

    Blower's daughter Senior Member

    Spanish London
    Hi there,
    Can anyone explain to me the difference between error and mistake because looking up at the dictionary I don't find any difference.

    Thanks in advance :)
  2. lily8

    lily8 Senior Member

    Spanish - Argentina LP

    MISTAKE is generally used while ERROR is used in formal or technical contexts and to talk about calculations.
  3. Edwin

    Edwin Senior Member

    Tampa, Florida, USA
    USA / Native Language: English
    ¿Quizás sea parecido a la diferencia entre las palabras españolas: error y equivocación?

    De todos modos no es facíl encontrar usos donde no son intercambiables.

    Por ejemplo: Se dice "error-correcting codes" pero normalmente no se dice "mistake-correcting codes" (sin embargo no suena espantoso). Y en beibol se dice "The player made four errors". no "mistakes" porque en este caso "error" tiene un significado técnico.
  4. mazbook

    mazbook Senior Member

    Mazatlán, Sinaloa, México
    United States/México, English
    Except in baseball, you don't normally "make errors". You can "make mistakes" but in normal usage you don't "make errors".

    An editor reading your document can find "your mistakes" or he can find "errors". In ordinary usage you wouldn't say that he can find "your errors", BUT a mathmatician checking the mathmatics in your document can find either "your mistakes", i.e., where you have written an incorrect symbol, or he can find "your errors", i.e. where your math is incorrect, AND he will tell you that you "made an error".

    The difference is sometimes very subtle, but if you think of "mistakes" as equivocaciones and "errors" as errores, just as Edwin has written, you'll usually translate the two words correctly.

    Saludos desde Mazatlán
  5. Sasuke New Member

    I think that error is more educated
  6. mazbook

    mazbook Senior Member

    Mazatlán, Sinaloa, México
    United States/México, English
    Hola Sasuke:
    No, even where the two words may be used interchangeably, there can be a very, very, slight semantic difference. Neither word would sound "more educated" by a native English speaker unless used in an improper manner. Just as the Spanish words error and equivocación are considered the same, but somewhat different.

    Saludos desde Mazatlán
  7. cyberpedant

    cyberpedant Senior Member

    North Adams, MA
    English USA, Northeast, NYC
    As you can see from the following, there isn't much difference between the two words. Error is probably a little more "formal." A child would be more likely to say, "You made a mistake," while a teacher might say, "You've made an error.

    Quick definitions (error)
    noun: (baseball) a failure of a defensive player to make an out when normal play would have sufficed
    noun: departure from what is ethically acceptable
    noun: a misconception resulting from incorrect information
    noun: part of a statement that is not correct (Example: "The book was full of errors")
    noun: (computer science) the occurrence of an incorrect result produced by a computer
    noun: a wrong action attributable to bad judgment or ignorance or inattention (Example: "She was quick to point out my errors")
    noun: inadvertent incorrectness
    Quick definitions (mistake)
    noun: a wrong action attributable to bad judgment or ignorance or inattention (Example: "He made a bad mistake")
    noun: an understanding of something that is not correct (Example: "He wasn't going to admit his mistake")
    noun: part of a statement that is not correct
    verb: identify incorrectly (Example: "Don't mistake her for her twin sister")
    verb: to make a mistake or be incorrect
  8. Edwin

    Edwin Senior Member

    Tampa, Florida, USA
    USA / Native Language: English
    La diferencia entre béisbol y fútbol y baloncesta es que en béisbol el número de errores de cada jugador es una parte del récord oficial. En fútbol y baloncesta hay faltas, pero no hay errores (oficialmente).
  9. Blower's daughter

    Blower's daughter Senior Member

    Spanish London
    Thank you guys you are fantastic!!!
  10. andym Senior Member

    English - England
    I don't think it is unusual to talk about an error in a sporting context. In tennis you would talk about 'unforced errors'. In football (soccer) you might talk about 'a defensive error'. And though it's been a while since I watched NFL football I'm sure I've heard the same phrase used by commentators in that context.

    But generally I think you would use 'mistake' in conversation rather than 'error' eg 'my mistake' but not 'my error'.

    And then there is 'I mistook you for someone else' which has no equivalent.
  11. larq005 Senior Member

    Español, España
    Hi all! Is there any idiomatic difference between "error" and "mistake"? Thanks
  12. Idiomático Senior Member

    Virginia, USA
    Latin American Spanish
    They are synonyms.
  13. chileno

    chileno Senior Member

    Las Vegas, Nv. USA
    Castellano - Chile
    "error y equivocación"
  14. Hakuna Matata

    Hakuna Matata Senior Member

    Español - Argentina
    "Error" en inglés tiene el mismo sentido que error en español.

    "Mistake" tiene el sentido de equivocación. A veces se pueden asimilar como sinónimos, otras no.

    measurement error es el error de la medición.
    measurement mistake es una equivocación en la medición.

    PS: Upss, no había visto tu respuesta, chileno!! Nos chocamos...
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2010
  15. roanheads Senior Member

    Scotland, english
    Creo que depende del contexto.
    Diría " that was a silly mistake " y nunca ,"a silly error "
    " that was major error of judgement "

    De verdad es poca cosa.
  16. larq005 Senior Member

    Español, España
    Thanks to all!
  17. VSPrasad Member

    Visakhapatnam, India
    India - English

    "unintentional" mistake: something unintentionally done wrong, e.g. as a result of poor judgment or lack of care

    "The report blames the crash on human error."


    Mistakes, sometimes also known as human errors, have no place in physics measurements. Examples of mistakes include: reading one number on a mesuring device and recording another, measuring diameter of a cylinder and recording it in a place reserved for height in the data chart, and mixing apples and oranges in general.

    In science and statistics, an error (or residual) is not a "mistake" but rather a difference between a computed, estimated, or measured value and the true, specified, or theoretically correct value. An error is a bound on the precision and accuracy of the result of a measurement. These can be classified into two types: statistical error (see above) and systematic error. Statistical error is caused by random (and therefore inherently unpredictable) fluctuations in the measurement apparatus, whereas systematic error is caused by an unknown but nonrandom fluctuation. If the cause of the systematic error can be identified, then it can usually be eliminated. Such errors can also be referred to as uncertainties.

    All measuring devices (balances ,metersticks, Vernier calipers, micrometers, etc.) have limitations known as leastcounts. For example: leastcounts for a meterstick, a Vernier, and a micrometer are 0.1 cm, 0.01 cm a d 0.001 cm respectively. This means that measurements made by a meterstick will have an error of +-0.1 and measurements made by a Vernier will have an error of 0.01 cm. These errors cannot be eliminated completely because of the limitations of the measuring devices, i.e., results of all measurements have an uncertainty equal to the leastcount of the measuring device used. The uncertainties in the measurements of all the variables in an experiment are divided by the respective values of the variables. All these fractional errors are numerically added and the result provides a range (X+-delta X) within which the experimental result should fall.
  18. terrats New Member

    In Language 2 there's a big difference between error and mistake. I was looking up for the difference on the net and I found a very interesting site. Here I copy what I found ( I did not write it)

    These are alluded to in Chapter 3 of Gass, Susan M. and Larry Selinker. 2001. Second Language Acquisition, An Introductory Course. Here, a distinction is made between an error and a mistake from an SLA perspective, where

    "Mistakes are akin to slips of the tongue. That is, they are generally one-time-only events. The speaker who makes a mistake is able to recognize it as a mistake and correct it if necessary. An error, on the other hand, is systematic. That is, it is likely to occur repeatedly and is not recognized by the learner as an error" (p. 67)
  19. apdzj

    apdzj Member

    Spanish Spain
    Terrats, your post helped me a lot! :) Thank you!

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