I Treat You

I was walking down the stairs after buying lunch from the cafe when I heard two students chatting on their way up. One of them said:

  • “I treat you because every time you treat me.”

I perfectly understood what they meant. It’s just the Malaysian way of saying that you’ll give someone a treat. However, the word “treat” is quite incorrectly used in that sentence.

  • treat (v.) = give medical care
  • treat (v.) = pay for someone’s meal


  1. Let me treat you. (X) – quite incorrect
  2. Let me treat you to a nice meal. (√) take note of the word “to”
  3. Let me give you a treat. (√)

However, if you’re a doctor attending to a patient, it’s correct to say:

  • The doctor is busy treating so many patients today. (√)
  • He’s being treated for cancer. (√)
  • Dr. Wong treats his patients without drugs. (√)

Well, confusing huh? What the heck, just say: “Let’s go Dutch.” 😛


Posted on December 15, 2009, in Word Power and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Sir you are such a nice guru are you free for dinner tomorrow? Let’s go Malaysian. haha You would expect my next question right? Why Dutch not French or China? TQ

    • Good question, Bananaz.

      It began some time in the 17th century when the Dutch and the British were at war. They fought for 3 years and the Dutch was too strong. Of course, the Englishmen didn’t like them as they were mortal enemies, so they began to form stereotypical views of the Dutch. Among those views, the Dutch were misers or stingy. So when someone says “Let’s go Dutch”, they’re probably trying to say “Hey, since neither of us want to give a treat because we’re stingy, might as well pay for our own meal.” 🙂

      Cool, huh? By the way, I didn’t make up this story. I found it somewhere – true or not, I don’t know. If you discover a different version somewhere else, share with us.

      Let’s go Malaysian? Hmm… yeah, perhaps. It can be used to mean “no need to be so punctual” 😀

  2. If a guy and a girl go for a dinner date for the very first time and the guy says, “Let’s go Dutch”, chances are 99% he won’t hear from her again 😀

    • Well, let’s do it the Malaysian way…

      “I pay la”
      “No la, let me pay”
      “Eh, you come from far just to see me. Never mind, let me pay.”
      “Aiya… don’t be like that la. Pai seh.”
      “No need to pai seh one. This time it’s my treat; next time it’s yours.”
      “Ok la, thank you.”

      The end 😀

  3. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAA! Truly Malaysian way. That’s a good one almost fell of from my chair. LOL 🙂 Thanks for your explanation on the Dutch post #3.

  4. Yeah, usually the ladies go dutch, but it is customary for men to treat the ladies to lunches or dinners :p

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