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I was taking an English test, and I needed to find which of the following sentences is correct. However, I couldn't recognize any mistake. To me,all of them are correct. Could you help me to find the mistakes? Thanks

  • When I am 18 I pretend to study Medicine and become a successful doctor;
  • Do you have any compromise for this weekend? We could have dinner together;
  • I eventually go to that restaurant. Because of the prices I can't afford to go there very often;
  • You can call her Joan. Actually her name is a bit difficult to say - there are 4 consonants together.
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  • It seems an article spinning software has written all these! It just replaces words with their (close?) synonyms to avoid plagiarism!
    – Maulik V
    Commented Jan 30, 2014 at 11:01

2 Answers 2

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  1. When I am 18 I **plan to study/plan on studying/want to study** Medicine and become a successful doctor.
  2. Do you have any **plans/arrangements/appointments** for the weekend?
  3. I **occasionally** go to that restaurant
  4. You can call her Joan. Actually her name is a bit difficult to say - there are **2 vowels together/there is **one syllable**.

Observations:

Sentence 1: Confusion with Latin Language false friend. "Pretend" - definition.

Sentence 2: Same reason as sentence 1. "Compromise" - definition.

Sentence 3: Same reason. "Eventually" - definition.

Sentence 4: I'm a bit unsure as to how this sentence fits in with the others! I only saw a semantic error.

Conclusion:

It seems you were doing a "false friend" exercise. Keep an eye out for words that seem to fit in direct translations for your language. There are a few false friends to be careful of!

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  • +1 Thanks for picking up ''False Friends''. While the errors were quite easy to detect, ''False Friends'' was something new to know about.
    – Nitika
    Commented Jan 30, 2014 at 12:16
  • Could "say" have to be "pronounce"? If "Joan" is the person's real name, it is not that difficult to pronounce, is it? I read that as "Call me Al, my real name is too difficult to pronounce".
    – oerkelens
    Commented Jan 30, 2014 at 14:50
  • I'm sorry, I don't see how any of these were false friends. Could you clarify what you mean?
    – Jay
    Commented Jan 30, 2014 at 14:52
  • @oerkelens - Sure. That sounds good too.
    – JMB
    Commented Jan 30, 2014 at 15:03
  • @Jay - False friends are words that seem to translate perfectly into another language, but actually have a different meaning. For example: "eventually" means "finally" in English, but in Spanish "eventualmente" means "may or may not happen; a possible outcome".
    – JMB
    Commented Jan 30, 2014 at 15:07
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When I am 18 I pretend to study Medicine and become a successful doctor.

"When I am 18" implies that the writer is not 18 now, that he is talking about something that he plans to do in the future when he reaches this age, or that he did in the past when he was this age. But the sentence is written in present tense. The writer probably meant, "When I was 18 I pretended to study medicine and I became a successful doctor."

It's also not clear what is meant by "pretend". To "pretend" is to claim to do something that you are not really doing or to be something that you really are not. It is certainly possible that someone could "pretend to study medicine": he could tell his friends or family that he is studying medicine when he really is studying something else or studying nothing at all. Or he might mean that he was attending a medical school but he wasn't really studying, he was just pretending to. But how would this lead to becoming a successful doctor? If the sentence ended "... but I became a successful doctor anyway" it might make sense. But as is, the sentence is illogical.

Do you have any compromise for this weekend? We could have dinner together.

A "compromise" is an agreement where each side gives in a little. In a simple case, a seller might want $1000 while the buyer offers only $500, so they compromise and make the sale for $750. Compromises can be much more complex, like a nation agrees to withdraw its troops from a disputed territory in exchange for a trade agreement, etc. The sentence is grammatically valid, but an unlikely thought. If two people were arguing about what they were going to do this weekend, it's possible. Maybe he wanted to go to the football game and she wanted to go to the ballet, so he suggests they compromise and go to dinner. But most likely the writer meant, "Do you have any PLANS for this weekend?", "... any COMMITMENTS ...", or some such, and if the other person does not, then she is available to have dinner with him.

I eventually go to that restaurant. Because of the prices I can't afford to go there very often.

"Eventually" means "after a long period of time". From the following sentence, it appears the writer meant, "I rarely go to that restaurant."

You can call her Joan. Actually her name is a bit difficult to say - there are 4 consonants together.

I don't see any flaws in this sentence. I guess this is the one that's correct.

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  • In the first sentence, "intend" would be a better word than "pretend".
    – Jasper
    Commented Jan 16, 2017 at 0:44
  • In the third sentence, "occasionally" would be a better word than "eventually".
    – Jasper
    Commented Jan 16, 2017 at 0:45

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