I don’t remember exactly where I was when I made this mistake, but I was chatting with my boyfriend at the time about big French companies and governments.
At some point during the day we got onto the topic of big corporations, particularly banks. I started explaining that there were four major banks in Australia, I wanted to say they had a monopoly of the market, so I said:
“Ils ont un monopoly” (They have a monopoly” I said.
He froze in his tracks and began to chuckle,
“Quoi? Comme le jeu?!”
What? Like the game?! he asked me with a laugh.
I had made the mistake of saying an English word with a French accent and assuming it meant the same thing. In French, the correct word for a monopoly is a ‘monopole’, whilst Monopoly is…. just a board game.
“You wanted to say, un monopole” he told me.
“Oh – well, we say ‘monopoly'”
“Like the game?”
“Well yeah, that’s what monopoly means, that’s the whole point of the game” I pointed out.
“Woah…” he told me, “I never thought of that!” he said and we continued on our way, imagining four bank CEO’s trying to score May Fair first.