My friend is working as mechanical engineering, I phoned and ask him the following:

  • The washing machine is broken, Could you repair it?
  • The washing machine is broken, Could you fix it?
  • The washing machine is broken, Could you mend it?

Which one is more common in this context? repair, fix or mend?

Repair: to put something that is damaged, broken, or not working correctly, back into good condition or make it work again.

mend: to repair something that is broken or damaged.

Fix: to repair something.


From your examples, the best one would be:

The washing machine is broken, could you repair it?

repair refers to some actions that bring some kind of complex equipment from not working to working. Such repairs are often performed by persons with specialized training (such as an auto mechanic who repairs your car).

The washing machine is broken, could you fix it?

You could also use this, but fix has a more general usage for most anything. For example: "I will fix the water faucet." This could be asked of most anyone, for example your neighbor, regardless of any experience in the matter.

As already mentioned, "mend" in the US and at least my experience is only used when speaking of clothing or other materials related actions.

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Frequency of word use is often regional, but in my experience -- an American who grew up in New York and spent most of his life in the Great Lakes region:

"Fix" and "repair" are commonly used and are pretty much synonyms. "Repair" might be a little more formal.

"Mend" is rarely used except to describe repairing damaged clothing.

That is, you typically "fix" or "repair" a broken appliance or a damaged roof, but you "mend" a torn shirt.

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  • Using "mend" to mean "repair" (as in a washing machine) sounds British-y to me. Otherwise I agree "mend" is more common for things like clothing or teapots. – Andrew Feb 24 '17 at 19:35

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