Is It “Mistaken As”, “Mistaken For”, or “Mistaken With”?

Prepositions and adjectives can combine in interesting ways. Not all prepositions are created equal, and we need to know which ones are best when using certain words. This article will explore the differences between “mistaken as,” “mistaken for,” and “mistaken with.”

Is It “Mistaken As,” “Mistaken For,” Or “Mistaken With”?

“Mistaken as” works when we’re talking about feelings or intangible things. When something can be mistaken that has no weight or character, this works well. “Mistaken for” and “mistaken with” both apply when referring to things we can touch or things that have weight or character.

Mistaken As Mistaken For Mistaken With

Perhaps you’d benefit from seeing it in action by referring to these examples:

  • This gesture is not to be mistaken as my way of forgiving you.

“Forgiving” someone is an emotion or feeling. We cannot touch it, and it does not exist as its own thing. That’s why “mistaken as” is best.

  • He is not to be mistaken for a fool. He’ll tell you that himself.
  • She is not to be mistaken with the rest of her family. She’s one of a kind.

“A fool” and “her family” are both entities that have either weight or character. They can both be touched, and we can use “for” or “with” interchangeably to demonstrate this.

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When Should I Use “Mistaken As”?

“Mistaken as” works best when talking about thoughts and feelings. Basically, if we’re talking about things that can’t be touched, we can use it. It’s easier to explain these types of things, and “mistaken as” is a good way to help with the explanation.

  1. My feelings toward you are not to be mistaken as a way for you to get an advance over the rest of them.
  2. The gesture will easily be mistaken as a friendly one. I don’t want them thinking I care, though.
  3. It is going to be mistaken as a way for them to get ahead. I know what these people are like, and they’re going to overuse it.
  4. I think it’s better that these thoughts are not mistaken as dangerous ones. You just need to learn how to control them.
  5. My ideas are always mistaken as foolish ones. I wish people would spend a bit more time listening to me.

When Should I Use “Mistaken For”?

“Mistaken for” is better when talking about things we can touch. For example, if we’re comparing one person to another person, “mistaken for” is going to be the best way to show that they should not be looked at in the same regard.

  1. He is not going to be mistaken for a fool again. He’ll make sure that nobody else can do that to him.
  2. You will be mistaken for one of them, and you’ll have to find a way to convince the others that it’s not true.
  3. I don’t want to be mistaken for a criminal. How can I find a way to get them all to trust me?
  4. You should let yourself be mistaken for the one that did it. It’s the only way you’ll get the people to like you.
  5. She is always mistaken for my sister. I think that’s really weird, and I don’t like hearing it!

When Should I Use “Mistaken With”?

“Mistaken with” is interchangeable with “mistaken for.” However, it’s a much less common form as many people think it’s harder to understand. “With” doesn’t make the most sense in all the same contexts as “for,” so many people prefer using “for.”

  1. Why are you mistaken with my mother all the time? I don’t think we look alike at all.
  2. You are mistaken with the other people. It’s easier enough to happen because nobody knows anything about you.
  3. I will be mistaken with them a few more times before anyone will start to trust me.
  4. If you’re mistaken me with a criminal, I get it. You just have to understand that I’m not about that life!
  5. I will not be mistaken with that crowd again! I’m not a part of their group, and I don’t want people to think I am.

Are “Mistaken As,” “Mistaken For,” And “Mistaken With” Interchangeable?

“Mistaken as” is not interchangeable with the other two. “Mistaken for” and “mistaken with” are both interchangeable, but many people like “mistaken for” as the best option because it’s less jarring.

Is “Mistaken As,” “Mistaken For,” Or “Mistaken With” Used The Most?

According to Google Ngram Viewer, “mistaken for” is the most common choice. There’s also a really obvious divide between it and the rest of the prepositional choices, showing you’re much more likely to use it.

Mistaken As Mistaken For Mistaken With english usage

“Mistaken for” appears in more contexts. It’s the most useful one since many people will find more use for it.

“Mistaken as” is less common because it talks about feelings and emotions (which are harder to use with “mistaken”).

“Mistaken with” is barely used because “mistaken for” is always a better alternative. It makes the most sense to use “for” in many cases, and it sounds less jarring than “with.”

Is It “Not To Be Mistaken With,” “Not To Be Mistaken For,” Or “Not To Be Mistaken As”?

“Not to be mistaken with” and “not to be mistaken for” are interchangeable. We use both to show that someone or something can’t be mistaken as another thing that can be touched. “Not to be mistaken as” only works for things that can’t be touched and need to be explained.

  • This person is not to be mistaken with the pope because he’s nowhere near as good.
  • You are not to be mistaken for the king. No one is going to believe that anyway.
  • I want you to look into this, but this is not to be mistaken as my way of trusting you.

Is It “I Have Mistaken You For Someone Else,” “I Have Mistaken You With Someone Else,” Or “I Have Mistaken You As Someone Else”?

“I have mistaken you for someone else” works the best. “Someone else” can be touched, so “for” is the best word. “I have mistaken you with someone else” can also work, but it’s much less common to see this form be used. “As someone else” is never correct.

  • Correct: I have mistaken you for someone else, and I apologize for that.
  • Correct: I have mistaken you with someone else again! I don’t know how I managed that.
  • Incorrect: I have mistaken you as someone else. Sorry!

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