“Fix,” “repair” and “mend” have very similar meanings, but there is a difference in how we use them and what we use them for.
The main difference
Take a look at this machine. What needs to be fixed? What needs to be repaired? What needs to be mended?
- We fix the whole thing/situation.
- We repair a part of the thing.
- We mend something less complicated.
So the machine needs to be fixed. The broken part needs to be repaired. The flag needs to be mended.
We usually use “fix” to focus on the general problem. It means we want something to go back to how it was before.
Do you know anyone who can fix my phone?
We also use it to talk about relationships between people.
She said she’s really angry with me. I need to fix this.
When a machine or technological device doesn’t work, it’s usually because one part of it is broken. This is when we use “repair”:
If you want to fix your bike, you’ll have to repair the wheel.
Remember that this one is a little old-fashioned and we don’t use it so much anymore. We usually use “mend” when we want to describe something easier and quicker to fix. We don’t need a professional to mend something.
She asked him to mend her doll for her.
I was always good at mending clothes when I was a kid.
We can also use it to describe relationships, but only in very formal (often political) situations, with the phrase “mend relations with”:
After 10 years of war, the president made a move to mend relations with the neighbouring country.
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