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Many times during conversation I hear the phrase Don't mistake me. Is it grammatically correct when used to mean Don't take negative connotation of my word. Shouldn't they say Don't take me by mistake?

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    @Jasper please dont take away my humour. I will die.
    – bubble
    Dec 23 '11 at 17:45
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    They definitely shouldn't say Don't take me by mistake. That would only be valid in a couple of highly-contrived situations that I doubt OP has in mind. But don't mistake me doesn't always imply misunderstanding in a negative way - you could say it to disabuse someone of the misconception that what you'd just said was more positive than you intended. Dec 23 '11 at 17:51
  • Is it really official when we try to hide our smile ? Let us have this smileys when we work officialy. Wont it be good ?
    – bubble
    Dec 23 '11 at 17:52
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    @bubble: I'm not sure I'd call them "doubts". I was just pointing out that - from your point of view, at least - it would probably be best to assume that Don't take me by mistake simply isn't valid English at all. Dec 23 '11 at 17:59
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    Related question: english.stackexchange.com/q/49679/14981 Dec 23 '11 at 23:01
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Mistake can be used as a verb, exactly as you cite it in your example. The noun use is a lot more common.

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    Per my comment to the question, OP may be conflating the verb to mistake with to take amiss. If you say "Don't take that amiss" you're invariably trying to correct a potentially unfavourable interpretation of your earlier words. But "Don't mistake me" is essentially neutral - it just means "Don't misunderstand me". Dec 23 '11 at 17:55
  • @FumbleFingers: You're right, of course. But when I first saw the post, it ended: "Shouldn't they say 'Don't take me'" (probably OP pressed the wrong button and the question was posted before he had finished typing it). I didn't pay attention to the word "take", I had the expression "get me wrong" in mind, and I thought the post would be edited so the missing part of the expression would be completed. If you check the edits of the post, you will see. Funny how the mind works sometimes (my mind, at least).
    – Irene
    Dec 24 '11 at 8:44
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    Yes, mistake can be used as a verb, but it doesn't mean what the OP wants it to mean, so "exactly as you cite it in your example" is incorrect.
    – Marthaª
    Feb 23 '12 at 14:30
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Don't mistake me is perfectly grammatical, but it doesn't mean anything like "please don't interpret my words negatively". When mistake is used as a verb, it means "identify incorrectly" or "misinterpret". Thus, you can get usages such as:

Don't mistake me for my sister.

or

Don't mistake me: I'm not disagreeing with what he said, but he could have expressed himself more politely.

I think the phrase you may be looking for is "take amiss" (like FumbleFingers said).

Please don't take my words amiss, they were not meant to offend.

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  • +1 particularly because now I think about it, it seems to me that in fact Don't mistake me, and the related Make no mistake... are actually somewhat negative/confrontational in intent/perception. Clearly OP needs a less belligerent expression, so even if take amiss is very slightly dated/formal, it's a better bet here. Dec 23 '11 at 18:52
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Don't mistake me is perfectly valid in certain contexts. It is usually used with an object that describes what you do not want to be confused with, as in

Don't mistake me for a fool.

Don't take me by mistake. can also be used, as in

Take the prisoner to jail. Don't take me by mistake.

In general, the prefix mis is used to change the meaning of a verb to one that implies that the action / state was somehow erroneous, incomplete, or bad. The reason there are different meanings for mistake is that there are different meanings for take.

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