Mistake Words in English

As much as we may like to be, we can’t be perfect all the time. We’re only human, and humans make mistakes. That means we say or do something wrong. That’s why we decided to introduce you to some mistake words in English.

The next time you make a mistake, slip up, or an error, you’ll have the vocabulary to describe what happened.


A mistake is something that is wrong or incorrect, and usually done on accident (not on purpose). People don’t mean to make a mistake, but sometimes it happens! If you make a mistake, don’t beat yourself up (be hard on yourself) about it, but instead try to do better the next time.

For example:

  • He made a mistake in the email by giving the wrong time for the meeting. He had to send a follow-up email with the correct time.
  • I’m sorry, I made a mistake! Her last name is “Fisher” without a “c”.


A mishap is an unfortunate accident or some bad luck. Mishaps are typically not very serious and are minor accidents.

For example:

  • He had a small mishap when he spilled some water on his computer during lunch.
  • There was a mishap at the club last night. I accidentally wore the wrong coat home!


An error is something that is not correct. An error can be an incorrect spelling, a mispronunciation, a mistake in a game, wrong thing typed in a computer program, or a piece of wrong information. If you make an error, see if you can go back and correct it. If not, move on and try again!

For example:

  • She made an error early in the game, but went on to score three goals.
  • There was an error in a line of my computer code, so I had to go back and fix it.


An accident is an unplanned event that occurs by chance, or an unplanned event that causes damage (harm, destruction) or injury (harm to a person). Sometimes accidents are nice, such as when you bump into (meet by chance) a friend on the street on accident. Other times, an accident can be worse, such as (for example) when things get damaged or someone gets hurt.

For example:

  • They had a small car accident, but luckily everyone was ok.
  • I accidentally knocked on the wrong door, but met a old friend who I didn’t know lived there!

Slip up

A slip up is a very minor mistake or accident. Slip ups can be funny or silly, and are very minor or insignificant.

For example:

  • He made a small slip up during the meeting. Everyone chuckled (laughed) before moving along with the agenda.
  • My student slipped up today. Instead of saying that she had “baked” a cake, she said she had “booked” a cake! Haha!


A typo is a spelling mistake done by accident. Sometimes you’ll see a typo in a book or an email, and while they can be annoying (especially if you love grammar), a typo is just a small spelling error and doesn’t mean that the person doesn’t know how to write something correctly.

For example:

  • The editor read over the text to make sure there were no typos before it was published.
  • I have my mom read my essays before I submit them in case I’ve made any typos!


A fault can be a few things. It is either a flaw that prevents something from being perfect, a bad quality in someone’s personality, or someone’s responsibility for a situation. When fault is used in the last context, you’ll hear it with a possessive, for example my fault, your fault, their faulthis/her fault, etc.

For example:

  • It was her fault that we missed the train, because she took too long to get ready to go.
  • The sweater had a small fault in it, so the store marked it 10% off.

What happened the last time you made a mistake? Did you have the words to describe it?

Do you know of any other mistake words in English? Share them with us in the comments below!

Buy Lessons

Did you like this blog? Share it with others! Let us know what YOU think!

Check out these other popular blogs: TV English Vocabulary, Banking English Vocabulary, English Comma: Basic Rules, or these Commonly Confused Words used in English!

Erin Duffin lives in Hamburg, is an English teacher, blogger, yoga instructor, and knows that making mistakes is the best way to learn something new or to start a conversation. Who knew there were so many mistake words in English, however!  

Looking for more phrases, ways to use English everyday, or get the conversation started? Sign up for our newsletter or check out the website!

Sign up for our FREE weekly English Blog:

Our best tips and tricks to speaking English fluently.

* = required field

powered by MailChimp!