What is the Difference between ERROR and MISTAKE?

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  • Post last modified:02/05/2023
  • Post category:Real English
  • Reading time:7 mins read

Difference between error and mistake. First of all, let me remind you that we make a mistake and not do a mistake. 

You can learn other expressions with MAKE and DO in my other post here How to use make and do correctly?

Difference between Error and Mistake

I always hate it when I make a mistake. When I type something incorrectly when I am in a rush or say the wrong thing.

The other word you probably came across is an error.

What’s the difference between ‘error’ and ‘mistake’?

Both terms overlap each other as they both refer to a wrong or incorrect action. For example, incorrect exam answer could be called both an error and a mistake.

There are, however, significant differences.

Difference between Error and Mistake

What is the difference between mistake and error? Advanced English learning. Online English lessons on Zoom. Study advanced English at www.englishlessonviaskype.com

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In most cases, a mistake is a decision that later turns out to be wrong. You might feel that you made a wrong choice (mistake) if you are not satisfied with the outcome of your decision.


An error is a more formal word and is generally used when the chosen action is compared to a set of rules. The action is considered to be wrong if it is different to the rules.

Computers, of course, produce various errors when they are not working properly.

This also got me thinking about the English vocabulary words we use when we do something incorrectly.

Alternative Words for Mistake in English

1️⃣ ERROR: There is an error in this report. You have used the wrong word.

2️⃣ TYPO: Informal English language to explain a word written incorrectly in an email or letter because you were in a rush or you cannot type very well.

There is a typo in my email, sorry I meant to say God instead of Dog.

3️⃣ MISTAKE: We make mistakes all of the time. Some can be big and some small.

Sorry, I made a mistake I meant to make my appointment for 10 am not 11 am.

We can also be mistaken in what we see. 

For example, mistaken identity refers to a situation where a person is incorrectly identified as committing a crime because he looked similar to the real criminal.

Important to remember that we MAKE mistakes not DO mistakes!!

4️⃣ BLUNDER: very informal English language to describe when you make any type of mistake.

I am sorry I made a blunder. I sent the letter to the wrong person. I will have to apologise.

There are many other informal words to use such as:




Recently, when I was watching a Newcastle United football match, the referee made many mistakes. He had a howler (bad game) and made lots of bloomers (wrong decisions)!!!

More Information

For more English vocabulary words and real English phrases, check out the following links:

How to Warn Someone in English

How to Ask for and Give Permissions in English

English Words for New Start

Music Idioms

Difference between Error and Mistake - Infographic

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