Languages can be cunning things! They hide words that could make you sound ignorant with very little effort, especially when it comes to the nuances for a non-native speaker.
Let us look a little deeper into some words that are actually quite similar and often used interchangeably, but might mean something quite different.
Jail vs Prison
Jail: It is from the Latin root, cavea, meaning “hollow,” “cavity,” or even “birdcage”—all indications of a place that something (or an unfortunate someone) can physically be put into.
Prison: Almost the same, again, but not really! You could be a prisoner of the social norms, of your inconfidence and several other things too.
Morals vs Ethics
Morally right but ethically not? Or, umm, maybe, the other way around! Well, you can watch this little video about morals and ethics here to get an idea of what I mean.
Infectious vs Contagious
With Coronavirus raging through the world, this could mean a huge difference to how you can protect yourself.
While Malaria or Cholera or Food poisoning are infectious diseases, they would not be transferred to you simply because you sat next to someone who had them. Not until, for example, the same mosquito who bites them first decides to sample your blood too and give you malaria! However, just being in the same room for a while with someone who has the flu, or, god forbid, covid-19, you are probably going to be laid down as well. These are infectious and contagious too.
Can you think of any more words with little differences that could make you sound very wrong? I’m sure you can. Share it. Let us learn together.