Friday, October 10, 2008

Confusing Words



Fault is not so much used to talk about someone’s character. Instead we talk about electrical, mechanical or technical faults:

There was a fault in the wiring, and I had no idea how to correct it.There was a delay in the broadcast of the programme, and this was due to a technical fault.A mechanical fault caused the train to come off the rails.

A fault then describes a weakness in something, primarily. But sometimes it is used to describe a weakness in someone’s character:

She has her faults, but, on the whole, she’s a nice person.We all have our own faults, I suppose.

We also have the frequently used expression: It’s (not) my/your/his/etc fault. This is a more idiomatic way of saying: I am (not) to blame or I am (not) responsible (for this unfortunate situation).

It’s not my fault he’s late. Don’t blame me.I’m sorry. It’s my fault. I forgot to pass on the message.If you don’t get enough sleep, it’s entirely your own fault.It was partly the teacher’s fault for giving them too much homework.

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