Pick and choose

PUBLISHED : Monday, 08 November, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 08 November, 2010, 12:00am

'A good psychic should pick up the phone before it rings' Ellen DeGeneres - American comedienne

Pick me up

The verb 'to pick' changes its meaning depending on the little word that comes after it.

Take a look at these important verbal phrases. What does each one of them mean?

1 to pick at something

a. to eat only a little bit of the food in front of you while showing no interest in it

b. to make a lot of fuss when choosing what to eat on a menu

2 to pick somebody up

a. to go to someone's place, usually in a car, and take them with you

b. to make arrangements to meet someone at a set time and then not turn up

3 to pick up an illness

a. to recover from an illness

b. to catch an illness

4 to pick someone/something out

a. to select or recognise someone or something from a group

b. to refuse to admit that you know someone or something

5 to pick up on something

a. to destroy something that is no longer useful

b. to notice something that other people haven't

6 to pick on somebody

a. to victimise someone

b. to admire someone

Pick the little word

Which is the correct word to complete these sentences?

1 Will you please stop picking (out/on) me!

2 Why are you picking (on/at) your dinner? Don't you feel well?

3 I'll come round and pick you (on/up) at about nine on Saturday.

4 Where did you pick (on/up) that terrible cold?

5 Has anyone picked (on/up on) the fact that the boss is acting very strange these days?

6 Pick (on/out) a T-shirt that you like and then let's go.

More picks

What do these verbal phrases mean?

1 to pick someone's brains

a. to criticise someone

b. to ask someone who knows a lot about a subject for information

2 to pick holes in something

a. to find mistakes in something that someone has done to show them it's no good

b. to lie to someone in order to make them feel happy

3 to pick yourself up off the floor

a. to recover your composure after getting a big surprise

b. to feel sick after eating a big meal

4 to pick up the bill

a. to pay for a meal in a restaurant

b. to ask the price of something

5 to pick up the pieces

a. to break something of sentimental value

b. to make every effort to return to normal after something bad has happened to you

Which pick?

Complete these sentences

1 She is slowly ................. after the death of her husband.

a. picking up the bill

b. picking up the pieces

2 Can I .............. for a moment, please?

a. pick myself up off the floor

b. pick your brains

3 I'm sick to death of my boss. He ................ everything I do.

a. picks holes in

b. picks up the pieces

4 I had to ..................... after he told me he'd secretly got married.

a. pick up the bill

b. pick myself up off the floor

And finally...

What have these three people said?

1 Pick on someone your own size!

2 Pick up the phone, please!

3 I've got a bone to pick with you!

a. Answer the phone, please!

b. I want to talk to you about something annoying that you've done.

c. Have a fight (or an argument) with someone who is as big as you!


Pick me up: 1. a, 2. a, 3. b, 4. a, 5. b, 6. a

Pick the little word: 1. on, 2. at, 3. up, 4. up, 5. up on, 6. out

More picks: 1. b, 2. a, 3. a, 4. a, 5. b

Which pick?: 1. b, 2. b, 3. a, 4. b

And finally: 1. c, 2. a, 3. b