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Misunderstandings, colloquialisms, wrong words and false friends: 9


Bernard and Grzegorz are on holiday on the French Riviera. They are thinking of hiring a nice big boat to relax in the Mediterranean Sea, and are down by the quayside to check on the costs.


BERNARD: Gosh, look at those prices! How can we afford to pay that much money for a day?

GRZEGORZ: Don’t worry. I have the ability to rent a boat.


First, quayside (or quay, pronounced Key) is a place on the water where boats can be tied.  Hire (British English) and rent (American English) mean to pay money to someone to use something for a period of time, for example a car, a house, and in this example, a boat.


Really Greg? You need a skill to be able to rent a boat?


Actually, some say this is very true: after all, if you are very good at speaking and have the natural ability and charm to impress someone well enough, and because of that skill it is easy for you to cut the price of renting a boat, then it is a great ability to have. Corporations and governments are always looking for extremely skilled negotiators.


I think what Greg means is that he is in a position to pay the amount of money needed to rent (or hire) the boat that is being talked about. His choice of words perhaps should have been: Don’t worry. I’m able to rent a boat (because I have got enough money).

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