What is a gaffe? 30/10/2013

Grandma, what is the meaning of gaffe? Asked my grand daughter Shilpi.

What makes you  suddenly  think of  this  word?  I asked.

My English teacher used the word in the class and when some of us didn’t know what it  meant, she asked us to refer to the dictionary and also give a few examples of its usage, she said.

I think that’s the best way to learn and when you also learn how to use it, you will never forget, I  concurred with her teacher.

No, grandma, it’s not the first time she has told us to find the meaning ourselves  and when we tell her we did, she says ‘good’ but never checks whether we used the word properly or not which leaves us confused, she complained.

That’s because  finding  meanings  is easier than using something in the right place, I explained.

But I found the  girl   was not satisfied, because  she immediately came out with another doubt  saying, ‘is faux pas the same as gaffe’?

You are almost correct because both are synonyms, I  said.

Now I have understood . Though they are two different words, I can give one example for both,  she said elated as though she had discovered something  of great significance.

What is that? I said.

It is not ‘what’ but ‘who’ and that’s my English teacher, she grinned.

n.meera raghavendra rao 

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