Famous, Popular, Notorious – Confusing English Word Lesson

Michael Confusing Words 2 Comments

There are many famous sightseeing places in New York City. Some of the most popular ones are Times Square, the Statue of Liberty, and the Empire State Building. Just twenty-fine years ago, Times Square was notorious as a gathering place of drug dealers and prostitutes, but now it is the most popular place for families to visit. One of the nice but les famous spots that I like is the rooftop of the Metropolitan Museum (the MET). It’s got a great view of Central Park!

For today’s free English Lesson, we are going to look at two words that are often confused, famous and popular, and I will also show you a related word, notorious. Have a look at the paragraph above once more and then check the lesson.

When something or someone is famous, it or they are well known, in other words many people know it or them:

  • There are many famous sightseeing places in New York City.
  • Johnny Depp is a famous actor.
  • The Magnolia Bakery is famous for it’s cupcakes.

When something or someone is popular, it or they are liked by many people. Popular things and people are admired and/or enjoyed by many people:

  • Times Square is a popular place for families to visit.
  • Star Wars was released in the 1970’s, but it is still popular.
  • Dance clubs are popular with college students.

On the other hand, notorious people or places are well know for something bad, a bad quality or in the case of a notorious person, a bad action:

  • Times Square was notorious as a gathering place of drug dealers and prostitutes
  • Adolf Hitler was one of the most notorious historical figures of the twentieth century.
  • The Godfather movie depicts several notorious gangsters of the 1940’s in New York.

Now it’s your turn. How about writing a few sentences using this vocabulary in the comment box below? I’ll review them for you!

If you know anyone who has trouble with this English language point, why not help them out! Just share this lesson with them. Thanks for studying today!

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