Teachers' blog


【Admit, Omit and Emit】

(Contributed by Ben)
These three words are easily confused. They sound similar (and in each word, the ‘mit’ is emphasised), but their meanings are very different.
Firstly, ‘admit’. Admit has two different meanings. First, being ‘admitted’ can mean officially entering a place. For example, you might be ‘ADMITTED to hospital’, or pay an ADMISSION fee’ to get into a zoo.
The other meaning of ‘admit’ is to tell the truth about something you have done wrong. For example:
* ‘the criminal ADMITTED her guilt’
* ‘are you going to ADMIT that you did this?’
* ‘By your own ADMISSION, you are a liar’. ‘By your own admission’ means ‘you have said this yourself’. It’s quite a formal phrase, but you sometimes hear it in law-court dramas. For another example: ‘He has, by his own ADMISSION, been careless at work’.
The second word it ‘omit’, pronounced ‘oh-MIT’, or ‘uh-MIT’. This means to leave something out. If you ‘omit’ to mention something, you don’t give that important detail, or don’t do something you should have done. For example:
* ‘I said I’d help you move house, but you OMITTED to mention you had three heavy pianos!’
* ‘When you write the minutes of the meeting, please OMIT this comment.’
* ‘You have OMITTED to fill in the second page of the form.’
* ‘lies of OMISSION’ are when you tell the truth, but you deliberately omit a very important detail. For example, if I told you I had seen your car being stolen, but I didn’t tell you that I stole it, that would be a lie of omission (even though the part I did say was true).
The third word, ‘emit’, is less common, but it sounds similar to ‘omit’, so I’ll explain it anyway. It literally means ‘to send out, or give off’, especially in technical, scientific ways. For example:
* ‘the factory EMITS a lot of smoke’
* ‘carbon EMISSIONS’
* ‘my computer is EMITTING a low buzzing sound’
So, be careful not to confuse these different words. And see if you can understand these sentences, which use all of them:
* ‘She admitted that she omitted to pay the admission fee’.
* ‘He emitted a loud burp, but he omitted to admit that the emission came from him’.

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