Be in the same boat


Indonesian - English
I find this on page 1039 and it says that be in the same boat means to be in the same difficult or unfortunate circumstances:
She and I are in the same boat - we both failed the exam.

Both the definition and the example are very clear.
But my question is; Is it ok to say On the way to the island, we were in the same boat with an American family?
I did not mean that we and the American family were in the same unfortunate circumstances. We were just in the same boat.
Should we use other expression to avoid misunderstanding?



So sorry for forgetting to mention the source.

(Source; Hornby AS, 1995. Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary Of Current English. OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS)
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  • Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    If you want to use this literally, you should use "the same boat as". At least that is true of American English.
    On the way to the island, we were in the same boat as an American family?
    Context tells us whether this is literal or metaphoric. If the next sentence is "None of us were seasick," we know you mean you were on a boat. If the next sentence is "We all got lost when we went sight-seeing because none of us spoke the language," we understand the metaphoric meaning.

    We usually say: "the same [something] as ...." However, we might say "We were on the boat with an American family" if we traveled together.
    Last edited:


    Senior Member
    English - England (Yorkshire)
    I agree; and in any case the context (of the actual sea-voyage) would make it clear that the phrase is being used literally, not metaphorically.
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