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For Life

Welcome back to WordMaster. As we begin the month of September, we're reminded that the world can be a dangerous place: Yesterday was the 79th year since the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923; on the 11th of this month, much of the world will be thinking about the tragedy that occurred in Manhattan a year ago; and September means the start of typhoon season in Japan, a real threat to many coastal cities.

We thought it important, therefore, to spend some time on the words and expressions we use to talk about these serious subjects.

Today's LessonCATEGORY: Commonly Confused Words
ACCIDENT vs. DISASTER   事故 vs. 災害、惨事


  • An accident is an unplanned and unexpected event, causing inconvenience, damage, or injury.

    A disaster is an event that causes great damage, economic loss, injury, or death.
  • accident  は、迷惑を被る、損害を被る、けがをする、など、予期せずに起こる出来事です。

    disaster   は、大きな被害や経済的損害を受けたり、死傷者が出たりするような出来事、つまり、災害のことです。


  1. a: Look what you've done! You've broken my best china plate.
    b: I'm sorry. I didn't mean to. It was an accident .
  2. Three people were killed in a traffic accident on Highway 92 today.
  3. I had an accident skiing and broke my leg.
  4. There's been a serious accident at school. Thirteen students were hurt when the ceiling in a classroom collapsed.
  5. It can sometimes takes years for a city to recover from a disaster.
  6. Hurricanes are common natural disasters in many parts of the world.
  7. Oil spills, global warming, and other environmental disasters are threatening the future of life on this planet.

We look forward to seeing you again tomorrow.