‘Block’ vs. ‘bloc’ (vs. ‘blog’) in English

by Jakub Marian

Tip: See my list of the Most Common Mistakes in English. It will teach you how to avoid mis­takes with com­mas, pre­pos­i­tions, ir­reg­u­lar verbs, and much more (PDF Version).

Ok, the “blog” part of the title was a joke; most people know that blogs are websites like this one used to publish articles (usually written by a single author), and that the word “blog” is a shortened form of weblog.

The mere fact that “block” and “bloc” do not mean the same thing can be surprising to English learners, as both words tend to be translated using just a single word to other languages. So, let’s take a look at the definitions:

bloc = a combination of countries, parties, or groups

For example, there used to be the Eastern Bloc (neither Eastern Block nor Eastern Blog is correct, at least if you mean the former Soviet political entity). Similarly, alliances of leftist parties in some countries are called the Left Bloc.

block=a large solid piece in the shape of a square or cube, or
a group of buildings with streets on all sides, or
an obstacle, something that blocks

For example, the cubes people dig and produce in Minecraft are called “blocks”, and we can often hear phrases like “I am three blocks away from your place” in American films (in British English, blocks are usually not used as a measure of distance).

By the way, if you haven’t read my guide on how to avoid the most common mistakes in English, make sure to check it out; it deals with similar topics.

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