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(escucha el audio más de una vez para familiarizarte con los términos que
se introducen y explican)
mistake is not pleasant, but it is natural. One well-known saying begins,
“To err is human…” In other words, making mistakes is part of being a
But what about those who suffer because of someone else's mistake?
The saying answers this question, too. It says, “…to forgive (is) divine.”
That means that excusing others for their faults makes us a little
better than just being human. The act is god-like.
This popular saying is an old one. It comes from the 18th century
English poet Alexander Pope. He wrote about forgiveness in an essay
titled "An Essay on Criticism."
However, Merriam Webster's Online Dictionary says the original idea is
older than that. In 1678 Thomas Jones wrote, "To err, is human; to
recover, is Angelical; to persevere is Diabolical.” But this saying
wasn't as memorable and, therefore, it just didn't stick.
"Err" comes from the Latin word "errare,” meaning “to stray or wander.”
Related words, such as errant and erroneous, have the same Latin origin.
But the noun form of “err,” error, appears in many American English
For example, human error is often the reason police give for a
preventable – but unplanned – accident. If a train crashes because the
driver fell asleep, that crash was caused by human error.
But some errors or mistakes are nobody's fault directly.
Let's say a plane crashes. An investigation proves that the crash was
caused by an undetectable engine problem. There was nothing the pilot
could have done differently to prevent the crash. In this case, the
cause of the crash was not pilot error.
But that is enough talk about crashes.
Let's say this pilot is on the runway preparing to take off. Suddenly, a
bad storm begins. She could take off but decides to wait until the storm
passes. We could say she wants to err on the side of caution. This
simply means that of all the options available, you choose the safest
If you feel sick one day but feel fine the next, you may err on the side
of caution and stay home from work.
You can err on the side of other things. For example, let's say your
child's school asks for a money donation to build a new playground. You
don't know how much other parents are giving. So, you err on the side of
generosity and give more than you think is expected.
Here's another example. If a person has treated you badly in the past,
you can err on the side of being polite to them.
Acting politely is the right thing to do. And it's good for another
reason, as well. When you are nice to people who have treated you badly
in the past, they may re-think their bad behavior. They may see the
error of their ways.
We often use this phrase when we want to say that a person has realized
the things they have done wrong. But be warned – we don’t use this
phrase lightly. The "error" in this expression is usually a serious
problem with a person's character or behavior that may cause trouble.
This expression also means the person became aware and then fixed the
Let's go back to the pilot.
Imagine she had a bad habit of working too hard. She would lie about her
long flight assignments so that she could fly even more routes. However,
one day she realized that she was putting the passengers in danger. She
saw the error of her ways and stopped.
If her supervisor had caught her and forced her to change her work
habits, you would not use this expression. And you would not say the
supervisor saw the error in her ways. It is always a self-discovery.
Now, talking about self-discovery brings us to scientific discoveries.
Scientists are very careful people, but scientific research is full of
errors. Scientists know this. So, they sometimes say that their findings
have a margin of error. That margin, or amount, shows how accurate they
think their answer really is.
You can also add prepositions to this expression. For example, if
something is unlikely to happen based on information you have collected
about it, it is outside the margin of error. If it is likely to happen,
it is within the margin of error.
Another scientific term that we use in any part of our lives is trial
and error. Trial and error means you find the best way to do something
by trying many ways and getting rid of the ways that failed.
divine – adj. of, relating to, or proceeding
directly from God stick – v. to remain in a place, situation, or environment error – n. something that is not correct : a wrong action or
statement errant – adj. straying outside the proper path or bounds :
behaving wrongly erroneous – adj. not correct undetectable – adj. impossible to discover or notice caution– n. care taken to avoid danger or risk : a careful
attitude or way of behaving generosity – n. the quality of being kind, understanding, and not
selfish : the quality of being generous polite – adj. having or showing good manners or respect for other
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