Tag Archives: phrasal verbs

Could you watch over my stuff?

watch over stuff

Photo credit: gourmetravelista.com

A couple of weeks ago I was having a tea in a café between my lessons, and a girl sitting opposite suddenly said ‘Excuse me, could you watch over my stuff?’ I nodded to say I could. Until that day I wanted to ask other people the same thing on several occasions, but wasn’t sure whether it’s ‘done’ in this country. Apparently, it is!

Here’s a little post on the subject of watching other people’s stuff from a fellow WordPress blogger.

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Russian up… and some other phrasal verbs you never knew existed

russian out up

Photo credit: wikipedia.org

The other day I had another class with my Russian beginner group and one of my students had just returned from a trip to Russia. We all asked how it went and he was really enthusiastic about it, though he admitted he was ‘a bit russioned out‘ by the end of it (= a bit tired from hearing Russian all the time). Wow! Once again I was surprised by the creativity of English!

However, this reminded me of how I went to visit my friend and her baby daughter, and when her English husband was in another room we obviously switched from English to Russian, so he shouted ‘Stop russioning her [the baby] up!’

Ah, the ever-so-flexible English language, even when it comes to Russian!

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I’m nearly through it

to be nearly through something phrase meaning

Photo credit: framedcooks.com

I heard this phrase today when I nipped out to the shop to grab some lunch. There was a dad doing food shopping with his tree daughters and he said that he needed to buy some cereals. The girls weren’t too enthusiastic about it for some reason, but he said ‘I’m nearly through my (let’s say tangerine granola), and I do like my tangerine granola, you know!’

This is quite a common phrasal verb and it can mean:

1) having finished an activity or piece of work

– I’m not sure what time he’ll be through with his meeting.

– Only one more letter to write. I’m nearly through.

2) to have ended a relationship

– I’ve told Larry I’m through with him, but he keeps bothering me.

3) to have finished using something

– Let me know when you’re through with the hairdryer.

4) to have decided to stop doing something that you used to do

– Are you through with politics?

(All examples: MacMillan Dictionary)

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To lock yourself out / in, continued

lock yourself out in

Photo credit: Getty Images

I wrote about these verbs almost a year ago, but today an opportunity to use them presented itself.

Yesterday I went for a run and took my keys off the keyholder. Today when I was leaving house to meet my friend I took the keyholder and when I got to the front door I realised the keys were not there. The front door was locked – I managed to lock myself both out (of my flat) and in (inside the house) – quite an achievement, isn’t it?

I phoned my husband who, luckily, works only 15 minutes away by bike or by bus and while waiting for him I had a chance to catch up on my vocab revision with Anki flashcards.

A few minutes later I heard a buzz. “This must be the postman delivering the parcel with my yoga blocks”, I thought. Our conversation went like this:

Me: Hello? Hello? Hello? 

Postman: …

(I realise this must be the postman who always wears headphones and sunglasses, and obviously cannot hear me).

Me: Hello? 

Postman: Hello?

Me: Hi! Sorry I cannot open the door – I managed to lock myself out of my flat and I don’t have the keys to the front door, but my husband is about to come and rescue me, so could you leave the parcel by the front door please?

Postman: Yes, I’ll leave it by the flowerpot.

Me: Thanks a lot!

 

Phew… My husband arrived just a few minutes later, I got reunited with my yoga blocks and was just in time to meet my friend. All’s well that ends well!

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To pocket-call

to pocket-call meaning

Photo credit: cnn.com

Almost every dinner at our place is cooked and eaten to the soundtrack of Marc Riley’s show on BBC 6 Music. His today’s show, apart from the good music, as usual, had a rare linguistic treat for me – I learnt a new word and, most importantly, it was one of those I-never-new-there-was-a-word-for-it-in-English-words. I get twice as excited when I hear them.

Now, have you ever put a phone in your pocket or your bag only to find out later that the cheeky thing has called somebody on your contact list? It used to happen to me all the time. And when it happens again I’ll know the word for it – ‘to pocket-call‘, as in ‘Sorry, I pocket-called you yesterday’.

P.S. According to Wikipedia, you can also call it ‘pocket dialing‘ or ‘butt dialing‘.

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I’m tied up

to be tied up meaning

Photo credit: irez.me

This week I learnt another useful phrase – it was in an email rather than in a conversation, but it doesn’t make it less authentic, I’m sure. I was going to arrange to speak to somebody on Skype to save us sending each other another half a dozen emails. I mentioned I could call right not, but the reply was ‘I’m tied up at the moment, shall we Skype later today?’

The meaning is quite obvious, really, but I think it’s one of those ubiquitous (but handy!) phrasal verbs that can express so much in so few words!

Some more useful examples:

– Oh, is it eleven o’clock already? I got so tied up with sending out these invitations that I didn’t even notice (phrasemix.com).

– Sorry, I’m kind of tied up at the moment. Can I call you back? (phrasemix.com).

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How to get around to… publishing a guest post

get around to it a round tuit phrase

Photo credit: thingsforgottenantiques.
com

Today’s post is from a fellow translator and linguist, Zsofia Forro, who kindly offered to contribute to this blog, and I love the post she came up wit. Enjoy!

‘I really love puns. A pun is a joke based on a word (or group of words) sounding like another one and creating humour from that unexpected similarity. Many people frown upon puns, especially if they grew up with English as their native language, because puns are a bit simple and some people think they’re not hugely funny. Few people perfect it to an art form, and they always turn up here and there.

The expression I want to introduce today is ‘to get around to doing something‘. If you are very busy you might promise to call people, or write or do something some time later, ‘when you can get around to it‘.

There is a solution for this. All you need is ‘a round tuit‘ (like the one on the picture above). Then you’ll be ready to do everything you’ve been putting off, because you will finally be able to get ‘a round tuit!’

Some examples of ‘getting around to it‘:

– [Procrastinators] do marginally useful things, like gardening or sharpening pencils (…) when they get around to it (structuredprocrastination.com).

– Every year, I come up with ideas for posts that I never get around to writing (theunemployedphilosophersblog.wordpress.com). 

– I’ll get in shape and pay my bills just as soon as I can get around to it (en.wikibooks.org)’.

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Can I squeeze past?

can i squeeze past phrase

Photo credit: dailytelegraph.com.au

First of all, Happy New Year to the loyal readers and subscribers of this blog – it’s great to have you on board. I’ll do my best to keep it up in 2014.

Second… it’s time for a new post, I think.

I’ve been trawling through my vast linguistic archives in search of an interesting word or phrase, and I stumbled upon ‘Can I squeeze past?‘ – a handy phrase for when you find yourself in a place full of people and you need to get past them. I’ve used it a lot at a Christmas party, where I also happened to inadvertently jump the queue – I haven’t felt that embarrassed in a long while.

It’s been, what, two or three weeks, but the festive season seems but a distant memory now, at least to me.

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