Meaning of "rock the boat"

English Idioms and Expressions, Intermediate level

ESL/EFL Test #13 [color=blue]“On the Water”, question 4

No matter how smoothly things are running, you can always rely on Charlie to rock the boat.

(a) spoil something
(b) spoil anything
© spoil everything
(d) spoil nothing

English Idioms and Expressions, Intermediate level

ESL/EFL Test #13 [color=blue]“On the Water”, answer 4

No matter how smoothly things are running, you can always rely on Charlie to spoil everything.

Correct answer: © spoil everything

Your answer was: [color=red]incorrect
No matter how smoothly things are running, you can always rely on Charlie to spoil something.
[size=200]_________________________[/size]

Sorry for no end of my questions (^o^) but I really like it.

Does rock the boat necessarily mean spoil everything?

haihao

No, it doesn’t necessarily mean spoil everything.

“Rock the boat” means to do or say something that causes a problem or disturbance within a group, especially trying to change a situation that most people don’t want to change.

I would have chosen the same answer as you did, but maybe here ‘‘everything’’ is supposed to mean the whole group, the harmony of the group.

Hi Haihao,

You never need to apologise for asking questions as that is what the forums are for. Within the meaning of the test sentence ‘rock the boat’ refers to the situation in which the comment takes place. That’s the reason why I have chosen ‘everything’ rather than ‘something’. This isn’t about one particular thing but a comment on what is happening within that situation. Other people could turn to Charlie and say something like: ‘You always spoil everything’.

A

Hi Alan,

Thank you very much for your considerate explanation and encouragement. I feel my English study has become much more interesting, more fruitful and more active than ever expected since I joined this wonderful studying platform.

My best regards,
haihao