Building Vocabulary

Sadruddin Ahmed

More about words often confused

to cry  to sob  to wail  to whimper  to weep
To cry is the most general word for producing tears when you are
unhappy or hurt.
The baby is crying because it is hungry.
We cry when we are in pain.
To sob means to cry noisily, taking sudden sharp breaths.
The girl is sobbing because she has been rebuked by her mother.
Mina’s mother has been sobbing all morning because Mina is    seriously  ill.
To wail means to cry loudly:
Mrs Huq has been wailing because her husband is dead.
We wail when disaster strikes us.
To whimper means to cry making a low  weak  noises:
Dogs whimper when they are beaten.
The child is whimpering because his mother refused to give him chocolates.
To weep means to cry quietly for a long time:
She has been weeping all day because there has been no food at home.
The nation wept when the leader passed away.
All these verbs can be used like ‘say’:
“I don’t like you to leave me alone,” she cried/ wailed/sobbed.
To be in tears means to be crying.
To burst into tears means to begin to cry suddenly.
To cry your eyes out means to cry a lot for a long time because you are very sad.

fat  overweight  large or heavy  plump  chubby  tubby  stocky  stout  flabby  obese
Fat is the more common and direct word, but it is not very polite to say to someone that they are fat. Instead of using the word fat, it is better to say:
He has put on weight.
Overweight is the more neutral word:
He is a bit overweight.
To avoid being overweight, you should cut down on calories
Large or heavy is less offensive than fat.
Mrs Ali is a large woman.
Big describes someone who is tall as well as fat.
His sister is a big girl.
Plump means slightly fat in an attractive way, often used to describe women.
Ms Hena is a plump woman.
Chubby is used mainly to describe babies, children who are fat in a pleasant healthy-looking way.
Mr Hasan’s youngest child is chubby, isn’t he?

Tubby is informally used in a friendly way to describe people who are short and round especially around the stomach.
His friends call him tubby.
Stocky , a neutral word, means fairly short, broad and strong.
Hasan is a stocky young man.
Stout is often used to describe older people who have round and heavy appearance
My friend Jamal is a stout man with a bald head.
Flabby describes flesh that is fat and loose and sounds offensive.
My uncle does not take exercise and he looks flabby.
Obese is used by doctors to describe people who are so fat that they are unhealthy.
If you eat too much and don’t take exercise, you will look obese.
Note that it is not considered polite to refer to a man’s size or weight when you talk to him

mistake  error  inaccuracy slip  howler
These are all words for a word, figure or fact that is not said, written down or typed correctly.
Mistake a word or figure that is not spoken or written correctly.
Non-native speakers often make mistakes in using English.
Make sure that you don’t make gross mistakes in pronouncing  words.
Error, (rather formal), a word, figure, etc. that is not said or written down  correctly;
There are a lot of grammatical errors in your composition.
Errors are very common in students’ writing.
Error is a more formal way of saying mistake.
Inaccuracy (rather formal) a piece of information that is not exactly correct.
Your article is marred by inaccuracies.
It is important to avoid inaccuracies when you are sending an article for publication.
Slip, a small mistake usually made by being careless or not paying attention.
While reading proof, one should pay close attention to possible slips.
Slips are always irritating.
Howler (informal, especially British) a stupid mistake especially in what it says or writes:
The report of the Enquiry Committee is full of howlers.
A howler is usually an embarrassing mistake which shows that the person who made it does not know something that he ought to know.
There are a number of howlers in the essay.

Patterns and collocations
a(n) mistake/error/ inaccuracy/ howler/ slip
a common mistake/error
a spelling/grammatical mistake/error
to make a mistake/error/ be full of mistakes/errors
to correct the mistakes/errors

storey  floor
You use storey(British) or story (American)  when you are talking about the  number of levels a building has.
I live in a 3-storey building
This building is 18-storey high.
Floor is used mainly to talk about which particular level in the building someone lives on or goes to etc.
My office is on the 6th floor of this building.

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