False friends in English: Words you must know!

Published on : 23 October 20205 min reading time

Currently, it is not possible to switch from English. Moreover, it has become the most widely used and studied language in the world. Have you ever heard the term “false friends in English”? Indeed, it is not a novel of affection that ends badly, but it is a phrase to show the words in English that correspond to French words. You should know that these words only look alike, but they have a totally different meaning in English and French. So, if you translate them exactly, you will come up with real contradictions. There are many of them, but to make sure you’re not mistaken, this article will show you some false friends in English that you need to watch out for.

What are false friends?

False friends are foreign expressions that are similar to your own languages, but do not have the same meaning. False friends in English are English words that sound like French words, but their meanings are not the same. When talking about a language, it is always necessary to know your false friends. Indeed, because of their apparent familiarity, false friends form part of the common ground in a foreign language. That’s why it’s so reassuring to join them. The problem is that one never wonders if the meaning of the words is really the same. You may not even realise that you are making a mistake, because you have no reason to think that you are saying something wrong. At that point, the person you’re talking to might not understand what you mean. So if you make a mistake, there is a risk of misunderstanding between you and your interviewer.

The most common false friends in English

The following false friends in English are words you use fluently. Most people use the word “actually” to mean currently. While this word really means in French, and the word “actuellement” means “now” or “at present” or “currently” in English. For the word “library”, it does not mean librairie as everyone thinks it does. A bookstore is called “a bookstore” in English. The word “comprehensive” is not the meaning of the word “comprehensive”. The latter is translated as “understanding” in English. And you should know that “comprehensive” means detailed or complete in French. The word “a delay” means a delay, not a delay. In English, a delay is translated as “a deadline”. As for the word “eventually”, it means finally, but not eventually. The word eventually translates as “possibly”. “To resume” is not at all the meaning of the verb to summarise. To summarise means “to sum up”. And “to achieve” is the meaning of the verb to realise. To complete means “to complete”.

The most amazing false friends in English

When talking about false friends in English, you have to be careful of misunderstandings. The following expressions are really amazing. There are the terms “inhabited”, “to be engaged”, “grave”, “corpse”, “bachelor”, “confidence”, “hazard”, and “issue”. First the word ‘uninhabited’, it means inhabited, but not uninhabited as most people think. In English, uninhabited is called “unoccupied”. Then there is the verb “to be engaged”. It means to be engaged! To be engaged means “to be committed”. There is also the word “grave”, which does not have the same meaning as in French. Indeed, it means grave. Something serious means “something serious”. Same for the word “corpse”, it means a corpse. Whereas corpse means “body”. “Bachelor” means a single person, but not a bachelor. In this case, you are said to be “graduated”. For the word “confidence”, it means trust. A confidence means ” a secret “. There is also the word “hazard” which means danger or risk. A hazard means “a chance”. You can also be wrong with the latter, because a chance means “a luck” in English.

False friends in English, verbs that can embarrass you

The following verbs are part of the false – friends in English. It is important to know them, as they can put you in an awkward situation. So here are some verbs to know and use. The verb “to embrace” means to opt for an idea, not to kiss. In English, this verb is called “to hug”. “To demand” does not mean to ask, but to demand. The verb to ask is said to ask. “To propose is to ask for marriage, not to propose. This verb translates as “to offer”. “To deceive” means to deceive. Indeed, to disappoint means to disappoint. “To pretend” does not mean to pretend, but to pretend. To pretend is to claim. “To rest” means to rest. To stay” means “to stay” in English. The verb “to command” does not mean to order. It means to order someone to do something. In English, “to order” means “to order”.

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