Difference WikiWords

Difference Between Error and Mistake

Main Difference

The main difference between Error and Mistake is that Error is the wrong action, which is the result of the lack of knowledge or skill, whereas Mistake is a wrongly made choice that is usually accidental.

Error vs. Mistake

The word error is a noun that refers to something wrong, inaccurate, faulty, etc. The word mistake is a noun, as well as a verb implying that something is done wrong. Error is a kind of wrongdoing that is more formal and technical. The mistake is less formal and less technical wrongdoing. The reason for the error can be a miscalculation and wrong judgment. The reason behind mistakes depends on the performance of a person, and they can be self-corrected. Error is considered more severe as compared to mistakes. The mistake is less severe, and people commonly make mistakes.

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Error is the wrong action, which is the result of the lack of knowledge or skill. For example, making tense mistakes, grammatical mistakes, skipping any word from a speech, etc. are all errors. The mistake is a wrongly made a choice and is usually accidental. For example, “Coming to this place was a mistake. We only wasted our time.”

The word ‘error’ originated from the Latin word ‘errorem’ or ‘errare,’ meaning ‘to wander or stray.’ The word mistake is rooted in the old Norse word, ‘mistaka,’ which means ‘wrongly taken.’ The word error is a more formal word and is not used in daily speech. It is highly used in technical contexts, e.g., in scientific or highly technical terms. The word mistake is less formal and is used in daily speech. Its use is commonly seen in casual conversations.

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Comparison Chart

ErrorMistake
Error is the wrong action, which is the result of the lack of knowledge or skill.The mistake is a wrongly made choice that is usually accidental.
Usage
FormalInformal
Context
TechnicalCasual
Cause
Lack of knowledgeAccidental
Parts of Speech
NounNoun, verb
Reason
A miscalculation, lack of knowledge, wrong judgmentThe performance of a person
Severe
MoreLess

What is Error?

The word error refers to something wrong, inaccurate, faulty, etc. It falls into the category of a noun. Error is such a kind of wrongdoing that is more formal and technical. It can be a miscalculation and wrong judgment. The word ‘error’ originated from the Latin word ‘errorem’ or ‘errare,’ meaning ‘to wander or stray.’ The word error is a more formal word and is not used in casual speech. Its typical use is in technical and academic writings. Error is the wrong action, which is the result of the lack of knowledge or skill.

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An action is considered as an error or produces an error if it is different from the rules, specific model or codes, etc. The violation of rules in sports or other practices will also be called an error. The term error is highly used in technical contexts, e.g., in scientific or highly technical terms. Like it is a collective term associated with computing and programming. It mainly refers to a mistake or fault, in coding and different processes. The term ‘System Error’ is very familiar to the ears although the word error is not used in casual conversations as it sounds odd.

Examples

  • I do my homework. Error
  • I do my homework. Correct
  • This paper has several errors.
  • He made an error of judgment.
  • I received an error while opening the webpage.

What is a Mistake?

A mistake is a wrong action due to bad judgment, ignorance, or inattention. The word mistake is a noun, as well as a verb. The incorrect or inappropriate performance of a person can cause a mistake; however, it can be self-corrected. The word mistake is rooted in the old Norse word, ‘mistaka,’ ‘mis’ (wrong), and ‘taka’ (take) collectively meaning ‘wrongly taken.’ A mistake is a misguided or wrong judgment. A decision by someone who brought disastrous results would be considered a mistake.

Generally, it is said that humans are likely to make mistakes. A mistake is a wrongly made a choice and is usually accidental. But one must learn from one’s mistakes or try to improve or amend them if possible. The word mistake directs less formal and less technical wrongdoing. Its use is less formal and observed in casual conversations.

A mistake commonly refers to all such things or concepts that are not correct. Furthermore, someone does not commit mistakes only because of a lack of knowledge or skill, but persons with knowledge also make mistakes. It is because they unconsciously do the things in an inaccurate. In such a situation, carelessness is the most significant cause of a mistake. A person must identify his mistake.

Examples

  • Her decision to sell the house was a big mistake.
  • I realized that meeting him was a mistake.
  • You make too many spelling mistakes.
  • There is a mistake in this page.
  • One should not repeat the mistakes.

Key Differences

  1. The word error is a noun that refers to something wrong or inaccurate; in contrast, the word mistake is a noun, as well as a verb, implying that something is done wrong.
  2. The word ‘error’ originated from the Latin word ‘errorem’ or ‘errare,’ meaning ‘to wander or stray’; on the flip side, the word mistake is rooted from the old Norse word, ‘mistaka,’ that means ‘wrongly taken.’
  3. The word error is associated with scientific or highly technical terms; on the contrary, the word mistake is commonly observed in casual conversations.
  4. Error is the wrong action, which is the result of the lack of knowledge or skill; on the other hand, the mistake is a wrongly made a choice and is usually accidental.
  5. Error is more formal and technical, whereas mistake is less formal, less technical, and is more casual.
  6. Error is considered more severe; on the converse, a mistake is less severe.
  7. The reason for the error can be a miscalculation and wrong judgment; on the other hand, the reason behind mistakes depends on the performance of a person, and they can be self-corrected.

Conclusion

Error and mistake are the two different words that are sometimes used as synonyms for each other. But both these words are different from one another based on the context of their usage.

Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson