Common mistakes… (3)


Muffler or scarf?

What is a muffler and how should we use it?  The Cambridge Dictionary explains that, in American and Australian English, it is a part of a vehicle that reduces noise from a car engine.  In the U.K., this is more commonly known as a silencer.




So, are you wrong to think a muffler is a thick scarf?  No, not wrong, but it is an old-fashioned word and scarf is usually used instead.

Scarf a strip, square, or triangle of cloth, worn around the neck, head, or shoulders to keep you warm or to make you look attractive.

It can be thick and woolly…

…or soft and silky.



The verb muffle means to make a sound quieter and less clear:

If a dog gets scared by loud noises like fireworks or thunder, you could try to ‘muffle’ the sounds by wrapping a thick scarf around its ears.

If your ears are blocked because of wax build up or perhaps you went to a loud concert the night before, you might notice that sounds are ‘muffled’.

So, unless you’re having car trouble in the U.S.A. or Australia, replace muffler with scarf and your English will sound more up to date:

“I’d like to buy a muffler scarf.”


If this post has been helpful, you might consider studying with S. and L. English Lessons.  Get in contact today to organise a trial lesson and let’s continue the conversation.

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