Learn English confusing words

Are you mixing up these words?


Lesson Notes:

Remind and remember

Remember is a verb that we use when we think or recall something from our past again, this can be a person, an event, an object or a thought.

We often (but not always) use remember with who, what, when, why, and how.

Do you remember what restaurant we ate at in Toronto?

I can’t remember how to make pancakes.

He remembered meeting her at the basketball game.

I think she remembers that day well.

Remind is used when something else makes you remember. This can be another person or a situation.

Reminds always needs an object. A sentence with remind needs a subject (the person doing the reminding, the object, and the thing or person that is being remembered.

Can you see the problem with this sentence?

“That remembers me.”

That is something else other than us, so we need to use reminds.

The correct sentence is:

That reminds me.

Quebec City reminds me of Europe.

Will you remind me to renew my passport?

Lend and borrow

These words are commonly mixed up by English students because in many languages use the same verb for both actions.

Lend is when you give someone to someone.

Can you lend me your car?

Borrow is when you give something to someone.

I will let you borrow it for the afternoon.

Don’t forget lend is an irregular verb

He lent me his car.

I borrowed his car.

Funny and fun

Can you see the problem with this sentence?

I went to the CN tower it was funny.

Here a student would be mixing up the verb and adjective.

The adjective funny means something that brings amusement or laughter.

He’s so funny he makes the best jokes.

Funny can also mean something strange, odd or unexpected.

A funny thing happened to me the other day, I was walking along the street and an old man came up to me and knew my name.

Talk and speak

Talk and speaking generally mean the same thing but the way we use these verbs in very different.

Let’s compare these two sentences:

I need to speak with you.

I need to talk to you.

The first sentence I need to speak with you might be

  1. More formal
  2. An important conversation.

I need to talk to you.

  1. Less formal, maybe with a friend
  2. Since the speaker might be your friend the conversation might be less formal

Speak is more formal than talk.

Speak tends to be used when one person is doing the talking.

Professor Chan is going to speak to us about the importance of climate change.

Speak is also used to say which languages we know.

I can speak English and a little bit of Portuguese.

Can you hear them speaking Spanish?

Talk is less formal and refers to a conversation.

Can I talk to you about my performance review?

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