On purpose or inadvertently

Ivan_I

Senior Member
Russian
Do you agree with the following idea? I have read in a grammar that:

I am always making this mistake. (means that I make the mistake inadvertently)
I always make this mistake. (means that I make the mistake on purpose)

And as a general idea "Present Continuous with always" expresses actions made inadvertently (at least it may express the idea)

Do you agree?
 
  • AnythingGoes

    Senior Member
    English - USA (Midwest/Appalachia)
    Yes. People use either tense for inadvertent errors, but the inverse doesn't apply: we wouldn't generally use the continuous to describe something we do intentionally.

    [Edited to reverse my response!]
     

    LVRBC

    Senior Member
    English-US, standard and medical
    I am always making this mistake. (means that I make the mistake inadvertently):tick:
    I always make this mistake. (means that I make the mistake on purpose):cross:
    This is also used for mistakes made inadvertently.
     

    Ivan_I

    Senior Member
    Russian
    So, the very tense doesn't imply the nature of mistake? Either it is made on purpose or inadvertently.
     

    Hildy1

    Senior Member
    English - US and Canada
    I agree with Loob. A mistake is by definition inadvertent.

    If you want to indicate that something you call a "mistake" was in fact deliberate, the context would have to make that clear.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    I am always making this mistake. (means that I make the mistake inadvertently)
    I always make this mistake. (means that I make the mistake on purpose)
    You need to look in a dictionary for "on purpose" and "inadvertent." :thumbsup:
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    I agree with Loob. A mistake is by definition inadvertent.
    :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:
    You might write a grammatical error on purpose, but that's not a mistake if you intended to do it.

    You seem to be confusing "mistake" with "error," which is easy to do since most errors are committed inadvertently.
     

    Ivan_I

    Senior Member
    Russian
    You need to look in a dictionary for "on purpose" and "inadvertent." :thumbsup:
    on purpose - intentionally
    inadvertently - unintentionally

    How does it help?
    You might write a grammatical error on purpose, but that's not a mistake if you intended to do it.
    Probably.

    mistake - an error in action, calculation, opinion, or judgment caused by poor reasoning, carelessness, insufficient knowledge, etc.
    error - a deviation from accuracy or correctness;
    a mistake, as in action or speech:

    I don't see any indication in their definitions showing that MISTAKE is made only unintentionally and ERROR is made (or can be made) intentionally.

    You aren't making a mistake on purpose - you're doing it incorrectly on purpose.
    To make a mistake - to make it unintentionally
    To do mistake - to do it intentionally
    Right?
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    To make a mistake - to make it unintentionally
    To do mistake - to do it intentionally
    Right?
    No.

    1.To do mistake is not idiomatic. Always use "I made a mistake."

    2. The words unintentionally and intentionally are simply adverbs,

    3. just like "quickly" or "quietly" Adverbs tell you about the way in which an action was done:

    You seem to be saying that "I did a drawing" means "I drew fast." and "I made a drawing" means "I drew slowly."o_O They do not

    4. To do is a verb that is like a pronoun: pronouns can be used instead of nouns; "to do" can be used instead of other verbs.

    5. To make means "to create".
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    To make a mistake - to make it unintentionally
    To do mistake - to do it intentionally
    No. Here "do" and "make" have the same meaning. A "mistake" cannot be intentional, unless we explain that fact by calling it "an intentional mistake".

    mistake - an error in action, calculation, opinion, or judgment caused by poor reasoning, carelessness, insufficient knowledge, etc.
    error - a deviation from accuracy or correctness;
    a mistake, as in action or speech:

    I don't see any indication in their definitions showing that MISTAKE is made only unintentionally and ERROR is made (or can be made) intentionally.
    Sure you do. Look at the "caused by" list for "mistake": none of these are intentional actions. But "error" does not list the causes.

    Besides, dictionaries never explain all the details of when to use a word or how to use it. If they did, they would require hundreds of words for each definition. Dictionaries are never "guides to using words".

    Dictionaries have only one use: if you see a word used correctly, and don't know that word's meaning, you can look it up in a dictionary.
     

    Ivan_I

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Thank you all!
    I think we have slightly shifted to a discussion of the difference between "mistake" and "error" and I must admit it's really interesting. So, how can I convey the idea of a mistake made on purpose (or should I say an error)

    I did an error yesterday on purpose. (CORRECT ????)
    I made a mistake yesterday on purpose. (WRONG???)

    However, the main subject of the discussion is the difference between the P CONTINUOUS and P SIMPLE in terms of intentional/unintentional actions.

    Let's get back to it. I will change the verb to MEET.

    I always meet Jack at the train station. (intentionally ???)
    I am always meeting Jack at the train station. (unintentionally???)

    Or it does one of the two tenses have nothing to do with (un)intentional action. It's still murky.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    I always meet Jack at the train station. (intentionally ???)
    I am always meeting Jack at the train station. (unintentionally???)

    Or it does one of the two tenses have nothing to do with (un)intentional action. It's still murky.
    The verb tense choice never implies intentional/unintentional.

    Note: the verb "meet" can have more than one meaning:
    1 - intentional, planned: Meet me at the station at 6 pm.
    2 - unintentional: So, we meet again!
     
    Last edited:

    Ivan_I

    Senior Member
    Russian
    To me it is not murky.
    How come it could be! You are native)))
    The verb tense choice never implies intentional/unintentional. I've never heard of that!
    That's because you never learnt English by reading grammars)) I've read about that idea.
    Note: the verb "meet" can have more than one meaning:
    1 - intentional, planned: Meet me at the station at 6 pm.
    2 - unintentional: So, we meet again!
    OK.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    Ivan_I,

    I apologize if my words seemed to criticize you. I did not mean to. I should have been more careful about the words that I used.

    I know English is very hard to learn, and grammar books often are unclear or give readers wrong ideas.
     

    AnythingGoes

    Senior Member
    English - USA (Midwest/Appalachia)
    I always meet Jack at the train station. (intentionally ???)
    I am always meeting Jack at the train station. (unintentionally???)

    Or it does one of the two tenses have nothing to do with (un)intentional action. It's still murky.
    I think you're on the right track here, so to speak. :) A nuance of these two tenses is that we're likely to use the present simple to describe a habitual action done intentionally; the isolated sentence with the present simple continuous does suggest that the meetings are unexpected.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    By the way, Myridon said "to do a mistake".
    I didn't. I see how you misunderstood that. "It" doesn't refer to "mistake" but "to the thing that you are calling a mistake in your sentence." Let me restate:
    You aren't making a mistake on purpose - you're doing it incorrectly on purpose.
    When you do a thing in a way that might be considered a "mistake" but you are doing that thing that way on purpose, you are not "making a mistake" by doing that thing, you are "doing that thing incorrectly on purpose."
     
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