Posted by on January 26, 2011

Some words seem like they’ve been designed specifically to confuse the learner. Take priceless, for instance. Learners could be forgiven for thinking (as I did as a child) that priceless means ‘having no value’. If you can’t put a price on something, that must surely mean that it isn’t worth anything? But, of course, priceless means the opposite of that – something that’s priceless is so valuable that you can’t put a price on it at all: no amount of money would be enough (and that goes for material objects, information or skills, and pure comedy!).

What words confused you as a child, and now confuse your students?

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Comments (3)
  • Another word which was confusing for me when I first saw it was “invaluable”. It seemed to mean “something that had no value at all”, when it’s actually the opposite!

    It seems that the English language is always praying tricks on its learners! ahahah

    Posted by Cris Kitamura on 26th January, 2011
  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Ian, ICBEU – ISAT and Willi (Wil) P., Macmillan Dictionary. Macmillan Dictionary said: What money can't buy… […]

    Posted by Tweets that mention Priceless! | Macmillan -- on 26th January, 2011
  • Sometimes learning english language is confusing and tricky. For example, transport by car is called shipment while transport by ship called cargo. If we look at the words we might think that it is opposite.

    Posted by hasmida hamza on 27th January, 2011
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