What's the difference between "grammatical mistake" and "grammatical error"?

Based on Cambridge dictionary:

Mistake: an action, decision, or judgment that produces an unwanted or unintentional result.

Error: a mistake.

Does it mean that I can use both (grammatical mistake and grammatical error) interchangeably and they are just synonyms or a matter of taste?

The context is for example when I see that there's no an article in a place where it should be (e.g. "He took table." instead "He took a table") or when I see missing of s' in 3rd person singular verb in present simple tense (e.g. "He learn English" instead of "He learns English") etc. and I want to say that it is a grammatical error / mistake.

Google Ngram viewer shows much more results for grammatical error, does it say that it is favorable in my context too?

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1 Answer 1


Grammatical mistake and grammatical error have no semantic difference. They are used interchangeably. Between the two, grammatical error is much more common. Here's a Google Ngram chart that shows their popularity.

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Note that grammar error and grammar mistake are also used, but are less common than their respective adjectival versions. See below:

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  • Thank you1+^, When I saw your answer for the first time I immediately checked google Ngram to see if they are equal in use, and I found that you also added it. I edited my question to make the issue clearer. May 3, 2018 at 1:10
  • 1
    But I think there is some difference. An "error" just means it is wrong. A "mistake" is an error made by someone. Errors happen but people make mistakes.
    – user3169
    May 3, 2018 at 6:38
  • 3
    @user3169 - In my experience, most people don't make that distinction, and "error" and "mistake" are pretty much interchangeable.
    – stangdon
    May 3, 2018 at 15:23

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