Abstract and concrete spending

Helping developing nations can spend much money.

If I want to spend money, I basically have two options:

  1. Give someone some cash in return for goods or services.
  2. Transfer some money electronically in return for goods and services.

I can do either of these things because I can use my hands to handle cash or to operate electronic gadgets.

The problem with our opening example is that the thing doing the spending – helping developed nations – does not have hands, and therefore cannot ‘spend’ anything.

What our writer means is:

  • Helping developing nations can be expensive.
  • Helping developing nations can cost a lot of money.
  • = Someone has to spend a lot of money.

Indonesian flag In Bahasa Indonesia, the same verb is used for people getting rid of many and for things getting rid of money – menghabiskan uang. Sorry guys, in English only people can spend money!