I would like to make sure the two following sentences are correct, comprehensible and mean the exact same thing.

A single mistake does not mark a loser.

A failure does not make one a loser.

Would you prefer one to another?

Also, I would appreciate if you could correct mistakes in my posts, should any appear.

  • 1
    If we do not consider the emphasis (possible), both mean the same. But I would prefer "A single mistake does not make one a loser." :) – M.A.R. Jan 2 '15 at 13:42
  • So which structure is more emphatic? – Bebop B. Jan 2 '15 at 13:49
  • 1
    It's not about 'the whole sentence', but using "single" in the first one could mean an emphasis to the singularity of the "mistake", while no such thing is seen in the second one. I'm sure there are better thoughts and answers than mine, so I leave this as a comment. – M.A.R. Jan 2 '15 at 13:52
  • Okay, I get it now :) Thanks, guys! It seems as though you are a lot more understanding and easygoing than folks from English.Stackexchange. Oh, by the way, just so I wouldn't have to ask another question - should I say "folks at English.Stackexchange", or perhaps "on"? – Bebop B. Jan 2 '15 at 13:58
  • 2
    I wouldn't say folks at ELU.SE are less understanding, just this question maybe wouldn't have been really in their 'scope'. – M.A.R. Jan 2 '15 at 14:06

The two are both correct and understandable and very close in meaning, but not exactly the same.

"A single mistake" might or might not be a "failure" and vice versa. You can fail at something without making a mistake and you can make a mistake without failing.

For example, if you start a business you will make mistakes - no one ever ran a business perfectly - but you may not have a failure, your business might succeed very well. On the other hand, if you play a game of bridge you might lose without making any mistakes.

  • 1
    Thank you very much for breaking down the sentences and explaining each part of them :) Now I may rest assured. – Bebop B. Jan 2 '15 at 14:02
  • 1
    Good point. Any time there are circumstances beyond your control, you might fail without making any mistakes. You could be the victim of bad luck, or be hopelessly overmatched in a competition. Of course in real life it would be very rare indeed for something to do any non-trivial task without making ANY mistakes. – Jay Jan 2 '15 at 14:26

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.