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The word gaffe refers to a social mistake or faux pas, which often results from having said or done the wrong thing at the wrong time. Here is an example to show you how the expression gaffe can be used:

Mistaking Sweden for Switzerland was the worst
gaffe that the Ikea CEO has ever made.

Finding good examples of
gaffes on the internet is not difficult. People like to write and read about the mistakes of others and gaffes, therefore, tend to make the headlines. Here are some examples of gaffes:

Barack Obama makes Falklands gaffe by calling Malvinas the Maldives
- dailytelegraph.co.uk, 16 April 2012, Jonathan Gilbert
France’s Nicolas Sarkozy admits Fukushima nuclear gaffe
- bbc.co.uk, 13 April 2012, BBC
Myer ridiculed over grammar gaffe in Australia-wide adverts
- heraldsun.com.au, 4 January 2012, Nathan Mawby

It’s good to know that you can make
grammar gaffes too, isn’t it? Could you see the grammar mistake that the Herald Sun was referring to in the last headline?
For a visual impression of what a
gaffe can be, have a look at the following video of former Italian Prime Minster Silvio Berlusconi as he arrives for a NATO Summit in Germany in 2009 and keeps German Chancellor Angela Merkel waiting for him:

Click here, if you are interested in learning more English idioms related to making mistakes.

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