8 Febbraio 2023

Common False Friends that cause confusion in Business

di Tom Roper
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As most people know, English has become the global language due to its relatively easy grammatical structure and its prevelance around the world. Whilst it is true that the vocabulary and grammar are slightly less complicated than its Italian counterpart for example, as we have seen in previous articles there are lots of obstacles that can sometimes make learning it and using it correctly more difficult. One of these obstacles are False Friends, words which appear incredibly similar to words in the Italian language but unfortunately have a rather different meaning. This can lead to misunderstandings and confusion between speakers, so let’s take a look at some of the more common False Friends shared between Italian and English: (Italian in Italics)


Accident = incidente, infortunio .  Accidente = Coincidence, Misfortune

“Did you see that accident on the motorway? It blocked the traffic for hours!”

“Oh wow, what a coincidence, I live in the same neighbourhood, I will give you a lift”


Argument = discussione , litigio.  Argomento = Subject, Topic, Theme

“Sorry to hear you had an argument with your Manager this morning!” . “I would like to provide a counter argument to your point”

“Whats the subject of today’s meeting?”.  “It’s an interesting theme that is worthy of discussion”


Actually = in realtà , in effetti .   Attualmente = Currently

“Did you finish all the reports already?”, “Actually I finished them last week and have already started on the new project”.

Currently, we are on target to hit €3m in Sales”


Caution = Cautela .   Cauzione = Deposit, bail

“Please use caution when you speak to him, he is very sensitive” .

“We have to leave a deposit before we can rent the car”


Confront = Affrontare .  Confrontare = Compare

“The customer confronted the sales rep because he believed he had lied” .

“How do we compare our prices with those of our competitors?”


Convenient = Comodo .  Conveniente = Good Value

“Our shop is more convenient than the market leader because we are strategically placed in local neighbourhoods”

“I prefer the other brand because it is much better value than the competitors’ “


Delusion = Illusione, Allucinazione .  Delusione = Disappointment

“It’s simply not true, it’s a delusion, they are not able to meet those requirements” .

“It was a massive disappointment when the supplier had to close their factory”


Education = Istruzione , Insegnamento, Pedagogia   .  Educazione = Good Manners, Upbringing

“He had a great education, attending both Oxford and Yale Universities”

“It’s a matter of good manners, you shouldn’t interrupt him when he is speaking”

These are just some of the more confusingly similar false friends we come across and how we can use them in context. If you have encountered any others please get in touch and we will include them in further articles. So to avoid disappointment, it’s a question of good manners to keep following our articles to help improve your Business English