The following sentences sound the same to me. Do you see the mistake in it?

  1. I always make mistakes when doing grammar exercises/answering questions;;
  2. I always do mistakes when doing grammar exercises/answering questions;
  3. I always mistake when doing grammar exercises/answering questions.
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    3 "I always mistake something for something"… I always mistake cod for haddock… I always mistake sugar for salt… etc – gone fishin' again. Apr 29 '15 at 12:19

For me (1) "make mistakes" is the better phrasing. Also "make a mistake" if there is only one.

Phrase (3) does not read correctly. In that context "mistake" needs to be followed by the type of mistake. Eg "I always mistake verbs for nouns when..."

The only usage of (2) "do mistakes" I can think of is as a question, eg "Do mistakes in grammar lead to ...?"

The first line of the question asks "Do you see the mistake in it?" This also does not read nicely to me. Perhaps a better phrasing would be "Do you see the differences between:" or "Can anyone [please] explain the differences in the following:"

  • Even I don't favor 'do mistake'. But then, I think... we can use this to emphasize. Something like... "It's not that experts are perfect in all sense; they do mistakes" – Maulik V Apr 29 '15 at 12:10
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    @MaulikV "they do make mistakes" would sit better to my ear, I think. Adding the 'do' gives the emphasis to your sentence, but mistakes are 'made' not 'done' [ahh… as I notice Khan already said;) – gone fishin' again. Apr 29 '15 at 12:16

The sentence #1 is grammatically correct.

The sentence #2 isn't correct. You make mistakes, not do mistakes. However, you can do something by mistake. Sorry, I did it by mistake.

The sentence #3 also seems incorrect. The verb "mistake" usually means to not understand or judge somebody/something correctly; you don't usually use it in the sense of making a mistake. For example, you mistook my meaning. I mistook you for my brother in this dress. However, according to The Free Dictionary, the verb "mistake" also means to make a mistake or error.


How do we define what is do-able?

That which we do must be a deed.

Did you do the deed?

A "deed" is something which can be done properly or something which can be completed.

(Special placeholder cases are "something" and "nothing", where "thing" stands in for the deed.)

Thus, we cannot 'do' an error or 'do' a mistake because there is no proper way to do something improperly. We cannot act improperly properly. Did you complete the error? is a nonsensical question.

In contrast to do, which refers to engaging in an act that yields a deed, to make something is to bring it into being, to cause it. There is no requirement that it be done properly or completely.

We can make a mess and make an error and make a mistake. All that is required of the thing that is made is that it be something we can bring into existence, something we can cause. The thing that is made can be something that can be made properly. But it doesn't have to be.

This explanation may in fact be a proper mess.

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