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Meetings – False Friends

Meetings – False Friends

There are three words to watch out for when talking about scheduling a meeting. Can you correct the false friends? Read on for the explanation.

In the text below someone is trying to set-up a meeting, there are three false friends: report, assist and fix.

We must report the meeting as the client cannot assist. Could you send me your availabilities so I can fix the meeting?

faux amis: fixer, reporter, assister

French – English False Friends

reporter – report

In French, we can say  la réunion a été reporté de 24 heures (meaning the meeting was delayed by a day).

In English, the verb report only has one meaning: to tell people what has happened, usually in an official manner. For example, Lidia didn’t want to report Joseph to the boss for stealing office supplies.

In this case we want to use postpone. Another choice that is more idiomatic is push back.

assister – assist

In French, we can say assister à une réunion (meaning that someone goes to a meeting).

We can’t say this in English, because assist only means to help someone.

Instead we say attend a meeting.


fixer – fix

In French, we can decide on a precise date or time by using the verb fixer:  fixer une heure de départ.

In English, fix can only be used to mean repair: we fixed the issue before the client noticed.

Instead say: set a meeting time or schedule the meeting.

Now our message reads:

We must postpone the meeting as the client cannot attend. Could you send me your availabilities so I can set a new time for the meeting?

A final note:

We could use the word reschedule in this message as well: We must reschedule the meeting as the client cannot attend. Could you send me your availabilities so I can reschedulethe meeting?

I wouldn’t use it in both places in the same message, but it could be used nicely in either place.

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