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Practice with the exercises:
Exercise 1

1. False friends

In English there are certain words that are written in the same way or similarly to others in other languages, but their meaning is very different.

Karajan was an exceptional conductor.
This dress was made with silk fabric.

2. The most common false friends

There are many false friends in English, but we will show some of the most common ones:

False friends MEANING Examples
Actually In reality / as a matter of fact I wasn't actually there.
Agenda Programme / schedule What is the next item on the agenda?
Argument
Quarrel / row / dispute
They had another argument because of money.
Large
Big
We need a large room to fit our guests.
Library
You read and borrow books
I often take books from the library.
Idiom
Expression
"An arm and a leg" is an idiom that means "very expensive".
Notice
Sign / advertisement / warning
The notice says that the lift is out of order.
Sensible
Wise / reasonable
That was a sensible decision.
Parent
Mother or father
She is a single parent.
Terrific
Great / awesome
That's terrific!
Sympathetic
Caring / supporting
Whenever you need a sympathetic ear, call me.
Be embarrassed
Ashamed / uncomfortable
I'm embarrassed to sing in front of people.

The real words we would use in English instead of the false friend:

ENGLISH MEANING Examples
At present / currently
Now / at the moment
At present, he is performing in a theatre.
Diary
Personal organizer
I've put down the visit to the dentist in my diary.
Plot
Story
Did you like the plot of the film?
Long
Opposite of short
There is a long queue waiting for the shopping centre to open.
Bookshop
You buy books
I bought this book in a bookshop in London.
Language
Communication system
Latin was once the official language in a large part of Europe.
News
Information
I've got a bit of news to tell you.
Sensitive
Easily affected
Sensitive people can easily be hurt.
Relative
Member of your family
All the relatives on my mother's side live in Australia.
Terrifying
Frightening
The fancy dress you are wearing is terrifying.
Friendly / nice Outgoing / likeable
Your neighbour isn’t very friendly, is he?
Be pregnant
Expecting a baby
When did you know you were pregnant?

Remember!

False friends are English words that are written the same way or similarly to Swords in other languages, but do not have the same meaning.
SympatheticCaring / supporting
False friend Translation
Actually In reality / as a matter of fact
Agenda Programme / schedule
Argument Quarrel / row / dispute
Large Big
Library You read and borrow books
Idiom Expression
Notice Sign / advertisement / warning
Sensible Wise / reasonable
Parent Mother or father
Terrific Great / awesome
Sympathetic Caring / supporting
Embarrassed Ashamed / uncomfortable
english word Translation
At present / currently Now / at the moment
Diary Personal organizer
Plot Story
Long Opposite of short
Bookshop You buy books    
Language Communication system
News Information
Sensitive Easily affected
Relative Member of your family
Terrifying Frightening
Friendly / nice Outgoing / likeable
Pregnant Expecting a baby

 

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