What are False Friends?


What are False Friends?

False Friends” are terms that sound or are spelled similarly in two different languages, but their meaning is completely different. Sometimes, we tend to interpret the meaning of unfamiliar words, as the two terms sometimes coincide. However, this coincidence is not always so obvious.

The differences are mainly due to variations in the usage of the words, and in many cases, both come from a common root but have evolved differently over time. 

Therefore, understanding “False Friends” is tantamount to effective vocabulary acquisition. One strategy for mastering them involves incorporating them into sentences or using them whenever feasible. This practice facilitates a faster assimilation of their meanings, allowing you to learn them almost imperceptibly.

50 examples of “False Friends”

Actually (en realidad) – Realmente

Agenda (orden del día) – Citas

Apology (disculpa) – Disculpa

Arena (estadio) – Arena

Argument (discusión) – Argumento

Assist (ayudar) – Asistir

Avocado (aguacate) – Abogado

Bland (soso) – Blando

Camp (campamento) – Campo

Career (carrera profesional) – Carrera

Carpet (moqueta) – Carpeta

Casualty (víctima) – Casualidad

Commodity (producto) – Comodidad

Compliment (piropo) – Complemento

Conductor (director de orquesta) – Conductor

Constipation (estreñimiento) – Constipado

Currant (grosella) – Currante

Date (cita) – Fecha

Deception (engaño) – Decepción

Dessert (pobre) – Postre

Dinner (cena) – Cena

Discussion (debate) – Discusión

Disgust (asco) – Disgusto

Diversion (desviación) – Diversión

Embarrassed (avergonzado) – Avergonzado

Eventually (a largo plazo) – Eventualmente

Excite (emocionar) – Excitar

Exit (salida) – Éxito

Fabric (tejido) – Fábrica

Facilities (instalaciones) – Facilidades

Jam (mermelada) – Atasco

Large (grande) – Largo

Lecture (conferencia) – Lectura

Library (biblioteca) – Librería

Misery (tristeza) – Miseria

Molest (agredir/acosar) – Molestar

Once (una vez) – Once

Parents (padres) – Parientes

Preservative (conservante) – Preservativo

Resume (reanudar) – Resumir

Rope (cuerda) – Ropa

Sanity (cordura) – Sanidad

Sensible (sensato) – Sensible

Spectacle (gafas) – Espectáculo

Support (sostener/apoyar) – Soporte

Sympathy (compasión) – Simpatía

Target (objetivo) – Tópico

To realize (darse cuenta) – Recordar

Topic (tema) – Tema

To record (grabar) – Grabar

Case Studies

  1. Get to know common false friends.
  2. Consult a good dictionary.
  3. Pay attention to the context.
  4. Learn complete sentences rather than just words.
  5. Practice with people who speak the language.
  6. Listen actively and speak in the language.
  7. Keep a record of your mistakes.
  8. Read a lot in the language.
  9. Ask for feedback from native speakers.
  10. Be patient and consistent in your learning.

In short, it is crucial to understand and avoid false friends when learning a new language such as English. Constant practice, attention to context and the use of reliable resources are key to mastering them, which will enrich your vocabulary and improve your ability to communicate in the language. This will enrich your vocabulary and improve your ability to communicate in the language – keep learning and practising to achieve fluency!
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