On purpose or inadvertently

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Ivan_I, Dec 6, 2018.

  1. Ivan_I Senior Member

    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?
  2. 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!]
  3. LVRBC Senior Member

    English-US, standard and medical
    This is also used for mistakes made inadvertently.
  4. Ivan_I Senior Member

    Which one of the two?
  5. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
  6. Ivan_I Senior Member

    So, the very tense doesn't imply the nature of mistake? Either it is made on purpose or inadvertently.
  7. 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.
  8. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    English - England
    You need to look in a dictionary for "on purpose" and "inadvertent." :thumbsup:
  9. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    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.
  10. Myridon

    Myridon Senior Member

    English - US
    You aren't making a mistake on purpose - you're doing it incorrectly on purpose.
  11. Ivan_I Senior Member

    on purpose - intentionally
    inadvertently - unintentionally

    How does it help?

    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.

    To make a mistake - to make it unintentionally
    To do mistake - to do it intentionally
  12. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    English - England

    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".
  13. dojibear

    dojibear Senior Member

    Fresno CA
    English - Northeast US
    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".

    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.
  14. Ivan_I Senior Member

    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.
  15. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    English - England
    The first thing you can do is avoid using "to do"; use "to make".
  16. Ivan_I Senior Member

    It doesn't answer my question. (you didn't mean to answer it :D)
  17. Ivan_I Senior Member

    By the way, Myridon said "to do a mistake".
  18. dojibear

    dojibear Senior Member

    Fresno CA
    English - Northeast US
    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: Dec 7, 2018
  19. Ivan_I Senior Member

    How come it could be! You are native)))
    That's because you never learnt English by reading grammars)) I've read about that idea.
  20. dojibear

    dojibear Senior Member

    Fresno CA
    English - Northeast US

    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.
  21. AnythingGoes Senior Member

    English - USA (Midwest/Appalachia)
    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.
  22. Myridon

    Myridon Senior Member

    English - US
    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:
    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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