An ELT Glossary : Mistakes

  • Definition : An inaccuracy in speech or writing made despite knowledge of the correct form or rules, and caused by eg tiredness, anxiety or the demands of spontaneous communication (eg the constraints of real-time processing : having to process what is said to you, think of your reply, formulate it in English, and actually say it, all in real time). 
  • Example :  the CPE student who leaves off the third person -s.
  • Contrasts with an error, which is an inaccuracy made because the learner does not yet know the correct rule/form. A learner who makes a mistake will be able to self-correct, whereas a learner who makes an error will not.

Related Reading 

  Ellis, R. Second Language Acquisition, OUP

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