Hi, my friends! I know you are busy enjoying your weekend and spring, romance and love. I wish I could join you but I am already out of date for most of females! So, I believe you don't mind my enjoying spring in my own way! LOL!

I see you liked to correct “learner’s” mistakes and to guess what he means. As I have “collected” a few other funny expressions this week, I’d like to propose you a new task. But first of all, I feel like sharing some of my observations with you. I believe them to be useful.

Being bilingual since birth, I had never paid attention to English phrasal verbs before I started learning Russian, a Slavic language. Although it has something in common with the Romanic languages, it is different and much more complicated. So, communicating with Russian speaking people and reading what they write in English, I noticed different people make the same mistakes time and again.  On the other hand, I try writing Russian, too (using a dictionary, of course) and often see that two or more different phrasal verbs have the same translation! And now, it is clear for me why many people say “put away” instead of “put off” and vice versa. It is because these two different English verbs are the same in their language. I noticed something like that on EC, too. People from the same regions make very similar mistakes.

So, what I want to tell you is that if you translate your word to English with the help of a dictionary and it gives you two different phrasal verbs, try to make sure which one is correct in this or that situation. I recommend that you translate both English words back to your language. It often works. If you are not sure, yet, try an English-English explanatory dictionary.

Well, it is just my experience and my observations.

And now, let’s see how ridiculous people may sound if they trust the first word they find in a dictionary.

I will change your task a little. I will describe the situations where I heard these expressions and you have to correct them for me to understand what I have to do. LOL!

Situation I (at the party).

We heard a nice melody I didn’t know but others did. They all know I play the piano and the guitar and wanted me to learn and to perform it. So, our learner asked,

“Danny, can you pick up a tune we have just heard?

Situation II (in my office at work).

My butt was lying in the ashtray smoking while I was talking to one of my colleagues. I didn’t notice it but he did and said,

“I think it is time to put off your cigarette. It has almost gone down.

Situation III (a phone call).

We had to leave for another city early morning. We were expected to get to the airport by cab. Late night, I got a call from my colleague who said,

“Something is wrong with my cell and I have no alarm clock. Will you pick me up at 6 am, please?

Situation IV (in my office again).

I was reading a paper book when a guy entered my office and said,

“We urgently need you in the laboratory. Will you put a book off for a while and come down, please?

I have already explained what TO PUT OFF means and it must be easy to correct.

But look here, what I want to say is that the expressions people used and those they should have said are the same words in their language! I just want to prevent you from making such mistakes! Sure, I will help you get to the point. Next weekend I will post full explanations of all the episodes described in both blogs.

Now, I am looking forward to your corrections. It would be great if you explain what learners actually said and give your examples.

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  • Well, here are the correct sentences.

    Situation I.

    “Danny, can you pick OUT a tune we have just heard?

    Situation II.

    “I think it is time to put OUT your cigarette. It has almost gone OUT.

    Situation III.

    “Something is wrong with my cell and I have no alarm clock. Will you GET/WAKE me up at 6 am, please?

    Situation IV.

     “We urgently need you in the laboratory. Will you put a book AWAY/DOWN for a while and come down, please?

    I have explained almost all phrasal verbs before but if you still have any questions, feel free asking

  • Thank you, Teacher Dan... YES. They have left for a walk again... lol... 

  • Onee, are your brains have left for a walk again? Hahahaha!

  • Dear  Onee, I surely understood what you wanted to say. I mean that your sentence is not clear at all. I would say something like this:

    "One needs a whole life to master a language and even a whole life may not be enoght to ahieve perfection"

    and I agree as I try to speak a few languages.

  • Ohhh, Teacher. This is so terrible. Did you have a nightmare? :D

    One needs a whole life to master a language, it is not even perfect/complete. I mean there are still so many things that one doesn't know about.

    Teacher Dan, I'm sorry. I don't know if I can participate. I like the tougher test, but my brain doesn't work well now. :D

    I'm glad that many members participate. ^_^

  • Hi Danny!

    I got it, about the third person.  Thank you!

    And about burn down and burn up I also got it. Burn up without anything left, burn down with reminders or other things after the end of burning.

    I know, that usually people don't drop the books :D But in my sentence I meant the situation, when people got just 10 seconds to save the world and 6 seconds are needed just to get out from the room, and go down from the stairs. :D

    Ohhhh, now I got it! :D Yes, now it is easy to understand, why to pick out! Thank you!

    Thank you very much for the detailed explanations!!! :)

  • Roman, TO PICK OUT really means to choose from the given set. Do you play any music instrument? We have only seven notes and we know how different cords sound. So, if we don't see notes, we try to play a melody, a tune BY EAR. In fact, we pick out the necessary cords of the given set.

    Your example about a lock is correct.

    Thanks for taking part!

  • Roman, in Situation IV TO PUT AWAY is correct. People don't usually throw books on the floor.

  • Dear Roman, it will take me some time to analyze everything you said. So, I may post a few comments. I will start with your first reply.

    1. Sure, you can say "play a tune" but TAKE IN is incorrect here.

    Speaking about the tenses, I didn't make a mistake as I described the recent events from the first person. I can still play the guitar and the piano and the people I work with know about it. If I had written a story from the third person, I would have surely used the past tenses only. 

    2. To PUT OUT is correct. When something burns we put it out. However, in that situation, my colleague said "put off" as he knows we put off the light and other electric devices. Speaking about a cigarette or match or a piece if paper "to burn down" doesn't sound correct. They burn UP as nothing except ashes remain. Houses, trees, bodies burn down as we can see their remainders on the ground when the fire has been put out.

  • Dear Onee, your correction doesn't make your sentence better! Please, read it again

    "One needs a whole life to master a language, it is even not perfect."

    What is not perfect? A whole life or language or...?

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