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Misunderstandings, colloquialisms, wrong words and false friends

Many students studying English as a second language often use words from their vocabulary which, when translated, either have completely different meanings, use the wrong synonyms, or are simply using words in the wrong contexts. Many of these examples are called ‘false friends’, that is, words which look and/or sound similar in different languages, but have totally different meanings.


If I included all the false friends I knew into the book, then over a hundred pages could be added!


Among my favourites are preservatives (meaning in Polish: condoms), manifestation (a demonstration or protest), and even lunatic (in Polish, lunatyk means a sleepwalker!). And if you don't already know, you wash clothes in a washing machine, and kitchen items in a dishwasher.


Click below for examples of additional misunderstandings that are not featured in the book - but may be added in any future edition.

Latin is a romans language.

I would like to go to a school reunion as it would be a sympathetic meeting.


Smoking cigarettes here on, or about university premises is strictly forbidden. Let’s just go to the canteen and get a cup of coffee.


I like your new hair.


The job of the animator is to keep all the young children happy and to keep an audience happy when watching a show and there is a break.


In July and August there are a lot of summer camps that youths can go to.


The best localisation for a holiday is by the seaside.


I heard Peter Gabriel on the radio yesterday! He was having an audition.


I have the ability to rent a boat.


FRED: Do you mind if I use your toilet? LAURA: Yes. FRED: Oh. Right. Well, I’ll have to try and hang on until I get home.


I'm loading my phone at the moment.


You can ask me. I’m a professionalist.


There’s a lot of rivalisation between companies in IT.


We could drive to the airport, or eventually, we could take a taxi so we don’t have to leave the car there.


Did you see that man driving down the village main street at 160 kilometres an hour? What a pirate!


FRED: Looking at the brochure, do you have any of those particular laptops in stock? DAWID: One moment, I'll check the magazine.


GERALD: I think your flat needs painting. The walls are getting very dirty. TERESA: I wish I could, but I have no occasion to do any decorating at the moment.

 When the pandemia is over, I will go on holiday.

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