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外国人都会用错的10个英文单词

10Refute

第十位:Refute

“Refute” means to “disprove with evidence” and yet it’s commonly used, even by professional writers, to mean “rebut” which carries a similar meaning but isn’t quite so strong, as it can also mean “argue against.” The example here (“Simon Cowell refutes ‘scandalous’ claims he helped billionaire hide assets from wife he was divorcing”) is from a recent Daily Mail article. For those outside the UK, the Daily Mail is a newspaper which regularly rages against falling educational standards. A special mention to Sarah Palin who invented a new word “refudiate”; the usage suggests she meant repudiate.

“Refute”意为通过证据来反对,然而它常被普通人甚至职业作家当作“rebut(反驳)一词使用。尽管两者意思相近,都会有 反驳之意,但“rebut”的语气不如 “refute”强。有个例子来自近期的每日邮报文章:西蒙科威尔 “refute驳斥” “丑闻,声称他帮百万富翁私藏财产,躲过前妻视线。对于那些没有生活在英国的人来说,每日邮报只是个不定时抱怨一下教育水平下降的报纸。值得一提的是,莎拉佩林创建了新词汇“refudiate(否认)”, 用法等同于 “repudiate”,意为否认

9Instant

第九位:Instant

Nowadays, it’s almost universally assumed that “instant” actually means “quickly” or “without intervention.” Obviously, it doesn’t. It actually refers to a precise moment in time. Google Instant is a good example of this word being abused.

如今,几乎所有人都认为“instant”就是迅速连续的意思,但显然不是这样。它事实上是指一个精准的时刻。谷歌即时搜索就是一个滥用该词的典型例子。

8Enormity

第八位:Enormity

“Enormity” means “extreme evil”, but it’s often used to mean “enormousness”. US President, George HW Bush missed this one when he said after being elected that he “Couldn’t believe the enormity of the situation.” A perfect example of irony (which, in the context I have just used it, is correct).

“Enormity”意为穷凶极恶,但它却常用来指巨大之意。美国前总统,乔治沃克布什,曾经误用过该词,在就职典礼上,他发言道没想到任务如此之大。这是个具有讽刺意味的例子。

7Less

第七位:Less

Less is used when comparing quantities that can’t be counted; for example, “I’d like less milk.” If you’re comparing quantities (like bagels, for example) then “fewer” should be used. But you don’t win many competitions with a tie break if you point out that “25 words or less” should actually be “25 words or fewer.” The antonyms “more than” and “greater than” get similarly misused. Programmers will know the comparison operators are referred to as “greater than and less than”; it should really be “greater than and fewer than”.

“Less” 用于形容不可数名词,如我想喝一点牛奶。如果形容可数名词,如百吉饼之类,这时,那就应该用“fewer” 但如果你比赛平局时你指出“25字或less(更少)其实就是 “25字或fewer(更少)。这种误用同样也出现在反义词 “more than”  “greater than”。程序员知道指代 “greater than and less than(比。。。大,比。。。小)的比较运算符实为 “greater than and fewer than(比。。。大,比。。。小)

6Chronic

第六位:Chronic

Chronic is originally a medical term meaning “long term”; it has the same root as “chronometer”. Someone suffering from chronic pain has long term pain. It’s often used to mean “very bad” – in fact “acute” should be used instead. Despite that, it’s easy to find recent examples: “O’Brien: INM in ‘chronic’ state”.

“Chronic” 原为医学术语,意指长期,它与 “chronometer精密计时器 含有相同的词根。如患慢性病的人,承受着长期痛苦。但它却常被用于形容严重的”— 事实上, 应该用 “acute”一词来替代。除了这个错用之外,还有其他的事例,如最近的奥伯里恩说道“INM 为一种慢性病。

5Literally

第五位:Literally

This is such a widely known misused word that examples are less common, as most people know to avoid the term – which should be used to describe something that is actually happening (for example, “He literally danced with joy.”) but should not be used for emphasis (“Steam was literally coming out of his ears.”) This example quotes a, now deceased, reverend gentleman who seemed to rejoice in, frankly, daft opinions, including one about a “literal homosexual steamroller”:

这个词被错误使用的频率相当高,但大多人都选择词避而不用,因而错用实例不多。它本用来描述正在发生的某事,如,他正高兴的手舞足蹈。但是不能被用作强调,如蒸汽确实从他的耳朵里冒出来。坦白的说,这个例子形容已故绅士享受“literal homosexual steamroller正要扑倒对方的同性恋)的愚蠢画面。

4Panacea

第四位:Panacea

“Panacea” means a cure all; it comes from the same Greek root as “panorama”. It shouldn’t be used to imply a cure for a single thing, and yet here is a newspaper saying: “SOUTH AFRICA: Welfare payments – a panacea for poverty?”

“panacea”意指包治百病的灵药,它与希腊语“panorama全景含有同一词根。它不能用来形容对单一事物的治疗,而有家报纸上却说南非:社会福利——穷人的 “a panacea”一种灵丹?

3Disinterested

第三位:Disinterested

Does “disinterested” mean the same as “uninterested”? No. Here’s an example of misuse: “Tom Disinterested in Windows Phone 7 Too?”. “Disinterested” means that a party is independent; so a dispute might be settled by a disinterested party. “Uninterested” means the party has no interest. “I asked John if he wanted to go to the cricket, but he was completely uninterested.”

“disinterested”“uninterested”意思相同吗?不是。这里有一个误用的例子,汤姆对微软视窗系统“disinterested不公正吗?” “Disinterested”意指公正;所以纷争可以通过公正的人来解决。而“uninterested”是指没有兴趣。如,我问约翰是否想去打板球,但他一点儿也’uninterested不感兴趣

2Decimate

第二位:Decimate

Decimation was a Roman punishment where one in ten men was , killed. So when something is decimated, it implies that ten percent of it is destroyed. “Devastate” is almost certainly a better word for most usages and yet: “New York City budget will decimate libraries”.

“Decimation”曾用来形容古罗马的一项刑罚:十个人中死一个。所以当 “decimate”用于形容一件事情时,它意味着毁灭了十分之一的程度。纽约市的预算将会毁掉图中的“decimate毁掉一词用“Devastate”更合适。所以相对来说,“Devastate”更常用。

1 Ultimate

1 第一位:Ultimate

From the Latin, this means the last in a list of items. But it’s so widely used to indicate the best; a google search for “ultimate phone” gives 307 million hits. I’d argue that the last phone has yet to be made. This is probably the most misused word on the Internet; type “ultimate” into google and thousands of hits come up, pretty much all of them using it as “the best”. However, for a change, this is the ultimate entry in this list.

在拉丁语中,它用于表示列表中的最后一项,但却经常被用来形容最好的。在谷歌引擎上搜索“ultimate phone最好的电话的次数高达30700万。对此我坚持认为是最后一通电话。该词可能是网上误用最多的单词了。在谷歌中输入“ultimate”,会出现上千个搜索结果,但大多数都把它用作最好的。不过,换个话题说,这的确是本文最后一个词目了。


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