Tricky Words in this week‘s OVI
Various and different. These are tricky words because they can both be translated into Slovak as „rôzné“, although strictly speaking that should be used for “various”, whereas “different” should be translated as „odlišné“ or „rozdielne“. These words are not interchangeable in English, because different means unlike or dissimilar, when a thing is different from/to something else, whereas various (say /VÉÉ-rjes/)means a non-uniform group of things. Those things may well be different from each other, but what is more important is the range of different things, the variety (say /va-RÁJ-ety/) of things. A meeting may be attended by various people representing different (or various) organizations. The next meeting may be attended by different people, i.e. not the same people as at the first meeting.
Prevent and avoid. These words cannot be translated with the same word in Slovak, so they shouldn't be tricky. Prevent means „(za)brániť“ and avoid means „vyhnúť“ or „vyhýbať“. There are bad things which might happen if we're not careful, but which don't have to (nemusia) happen at all: they can be prevented, so they are preventable. Injuries are preventable. On the other hand there are bad things which exist independently from us, but if we're careful they don't have to happen to us: they can be avoided, so they're avoidable. Risks are avoidable. Unfortunately there seem to be more and more native speakers mixing up these words. Soccer commentators talk about players “avoiding injury” as well as “avoiding fouls”, as if injuries and fouls exist independently from the players themselves.