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Uncommon Meanings of Common Words

common words As English majored undergraduates and translators, we all have a basic and comprehensive grasp of English language. And our vocabulary enlarges as our daily work proceeds. We may come across plenty of new, complicated and specialized words and terms; however, the common words also have their uncommon meanings and ways of use that are noteworthy. I’d like to discuss a few below as a brief introduction and a reminder for those who use English as a tool or have an English-related job. balance Generally, it means the evenness of weight or the equality of different elements. But both explanations will not support the reason why the word is used in this sentence: “The NHS and the Department of Health are contributing four million pounds, with the balance from the universities.” It says that the universities covers the rest of the money while the NHS and the DoH paying the 4 million pounds. The correct translation shall be “NHS 和卫生部支付 4 百万英镑,缺口由大学补足。” appropriate appropriate is one of the most commonly used words. However, as a verb, it also means “take possession of by force, as after an invasion”. He appropriated the trust funds for himself. (他挪用了信托资金。) Champion This is a word that has left me a very strong impression when I was in college. As we all learned that champion means the one won the first prize in a competition. When I first saw the sentence “Tom championed his friend” I took for granted that it means “汤姆击败他的朋友成为了冠军” (Tom defeated his friends and became the champion). This mistake was immediately pointed out by my teacher Philip. As a verb, champion means to “protect or fight for as a champion”. So the correct translation is “汤姆捍卫了他的朋友”. Comparison is one of the basic ways for learning and studying. Compare the different meanings of a word; understand the characteristics and expressions. After years of study, many English learners have gained solid foundation and language sense, and are more intend to “guess” or use the word as he/she thinks the way it should be used. The different meaning of the same word may therefore cause ridiculous errors and mistakes, and the language users can hardly notice the mistakes by themselves. The process of learning a language is long and hard, and it requires accumulation. I hope this article could be of some help to those who strive to become a language specialist.

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