Engels: spelling

Sommige Engelse woorden spel je bijna hetzelfde, maar hebben vaak een andere betekenis. Dat kan nog wel eens voor verwarring zorgen. Vooral woorden die eindigen met v-/f-klanken, s-/z-klanken of d-/t-klanken, kunnen misleiden. Nog lastiger is dat de betekenissen van deze woorden soms erg dicht bij elkaar liggen.

Safe or Save?

  • Safe is an adjective (bijvoegelijk naamwoord): veilig, or a noun (zelfstandig naamwoord): kluis.
    Keep your valuables safe by putting them in a locker.
  • Save is a verb (werkwoord): redden, (be-)sparen, opslaan enz.
    Click here to save the changes.
    Let’s hope Batman will save the day!

Then or Than?

  • Than is used when you are comparing, especially after a comparative adjective (vergelijkende trap): better than, larger than, more important than, rather than etc.
    That’s easier said than done.
    What could be more delicious on a winter’s day than a bowl of warming soup?
  • Than is also used with the word ‘other’: other than.
    Other than Norway and Iceland, the Scandinavian countries are all members of the EU.
  • Then refers to a moment in time, a sequence or a consequence: dan, daarna, toen, in dat geval, dus.
    First you remove the teabag, then you add the milk.
    If you have ever visited Italy, then you’ll be familiar with spaghetti.
    So you chased the thief down the street… and what happened then?

Send or Sent?

  • Send is a verb (werkwoord): sturen, verzenden etc. Sent is the past tense (verleden tijd) and past participle (voltooid deelwoord) of the verb ‘send’.
    Please could you send me a brochure.
    They haven’t sent me anything yet.
    Your query will be sent to the appropriate person.
    Exactly the same applies for the verbs spend/spent, lend/lent, build/built, bend/bent.

Price or Prize?

  • Price means how much money you pay for something.
    The price of oil just never seems to stop rising.
  • Prize means something that you receive if you win a competition (synonym: ‘award’).
    The singers won first prize for their performance.
    No prizes for guessing which company is behind the new iPad.

Life or Live?

  • Life is a verb (werkwoord): leven, wonen (pronounced ‘liv’).
    I live in Amsterdam.
  • Live is also an adjective (bijvoegelijk naamwoord): not recorded but performed on the spot (pronounced ‘lijv’)
    A live performance, live television, live music.
  • Life is a noun (zelfstandig werkwoord): het leven.
    He dedicated his whole life to helping others.

To or Too?

These two words are pronounced identically.

  • To is a preposition (voorzetsel) – it usually denotes movement towards a place: naar.
    I am going to Ibiza.
  • Also, To is sometimes needed before a verb in the infinitive (heel werkwoord).
    I am going to move to Ibiza.
  • Too can be used before an adjective (bijvoegelijk naamwoord), and means ‘te’.
    That is far too expensive.
    I’m not too fat, I’m just ‘big-boned’.
  • Too can also mean ‘ook’, at the end of the sentence.
    I think so too.
    They are coming too.

Extend or Extent?

  • Extend is a verb (werkwoord): uittrekken, zich uitstrekken, verlengen.
    The authorities have now extended the exclusion zone.
    It is necessary to extend your visa every six months.
  • Extent is a noun (zelfstandig naamwoord): omvang, mate, hoogte.
    The precise extent of the damage is not yet known.
    To what extent…? = In hoeverre…?
    To what extent is it true that the world’s climate is changing?


  • Met dank aan Taalcentrum-VU voor het beschikbaar stellen van deze tips. Het Taalcentrum-VU is een zelfstandig taal- en trainingsbureau dat opereert vanuit de Vrije Universiteit en vertalingen, taal- en communicatietrainingen en tekstredactie verzorgt voor overheid en bedrijfsleven.

 
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