We sometimes find sentences whose structures are quite similar but with a totally different meaning, and that may cause students to be misunderstood.

Here are 10 examples of common confusing sentences, Can you tell the difference in meaning the sentences have?

 

  1. He threw the ball at me. and He threw the ball to me.
  2. He likes Mike more than me. and He likes Mike more than I (do).
  3. I’ll get back to you on that. and I ‘ll get back at you for that.
  4. I sent a letter to my brother. and I sent a letter for my brother.
  5. He stopped to call him. and He stopped calling him.
  6. I’m going to cut my hair. and I’m going to have my hair cut.
  7. Let’s eat grandma. and Let’s eat, grandma. (comma)
  8. I have a few coins. and I have few coins.
  9. Do you have any money with you. and Do you have some money with you?
  10. I’ve heard of Justin Bieber. and I’ve heard about Justin Bieber. and l’ve heard nothing from Justin Bieber yet.

1. He threw the ball at me.  He wanted to hit me with the ball. He wanted to hurt me.

    He threw the ball to me.  He wanted me to catch the ball.

2. He likes Mike more than meHe likes Mike more than he likes me.

He likes Mike more than I (do).   He likes Mike more than I like Mike.

3. I’ll get back to you on that.   I’ll call you later when I know more about it.

I’ll get back at you for that.   I’ll take revenge on you for something you did to me.

4. I sent a letter to my brother.   I sent it to my brother. He was the recipient of the letter.

I sent a letter for my brother.   My brother was probably busy, so I sent the letter to help him. 

5. He stopped to call him.   He was doing something and decided to stop doing that so that he would have time to call him.

He stopped calling him.   He decided not to call him any more. Maybe they had an argument and are not friends any more.

6. I’m going to cut my hair.   I’m going to do the cutting myself.

I’m going to have my hair cut.   Someone is going to cut my hair.

7. Let’s eat grandma.   I’m suggesting eating grandma.

Let’s eat, grandma. (comma)   I’m suggesting that we (my grandma and I) eat something.

8. I have a few coins.   I’m happy that I have some coins.

I have few coins.   Maybe I don’t enough coins to buy something.

9. Do you have any money with you?   I just want to know if youhave money. When we use “ANY” in questions, we don’t expect a particular answer.

Do you have some money with you?   I expect you to say “YES”. When we use SOME in questions, we expect people to say “YES”.

10. I’ve heard of Justin Bieber.   I know that he exists. l know that he is a singer. That much I know.

I’ve heard about Justin Bieber.   I know that he is in the news for some reason.

l’ve heard nothing from Justin Bieber yet.   I haven’t got any information from him (via e-mail, phone, etc.) yet.

I hope you found these examples useful, and helped you on your goal to speak and write more fluently, as well as to prepare for the Cambridge FCE and CAE exams.

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