Mistake Vs Error in Language Learning

What is the difference between error and mistakes?

A mistake refers to a performance error that is either a random guess or a “slip”, in that is a failure to utilize a noun system correctly. All people make a mistake, in both native and second language situations. Native speakers are normally capable of recognizing and correcting such “lapses” or mistakes, which are not the result of a deficiency in competence but the result of some sort of temporary breakdown or imperfection in the process of producing speech. These hesitations, slips of the tongue, random ungrammaticalities, and other performance lapses in native-speaker production also occur in second language speech.

An error, a noticeable deviation from the adult grammar of a native speaker, reflects the competence of the learner. An error is most likely not a mistake, and error that reveals a portion of the learner’s competence in the target language.

From the explanation above, what is the difference between both of them? An error cannot be self-corrected, according to James (1998:83), while mistakes can be corrected if the deviation is pointed out to the speaker. Thus, students who make a mistake can correct it by themselves because they know the correct one.



Brown, H. Douglas (-4th.ed .2000.Principles of Language Learning And Teaching. New York: Pearson Education


3 thoughts on “Mistake Vs Error in Language Learning

  1. Help me solve this
    speaker A:Where were you?
    Student:I was in Lagos
    Speaker A:Why have you not been in the school?
    Student:I was SICKED
    questions: identify the error.
    describe the error.
    classify the error.
    correct the error.


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