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turn off a lamp or turn a lamp off

English translation: both are possible

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GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
English term or phrase:turn off a lamp or turn a lamp off
English translation:both are possible
Entered by: TesCor -
Options:
- Contribute to this entry
- Include in personal glossary

13:34 Jul 25, 2005
English to English translations [Non-PRO]
General / Conversation / Greetings / Letters
English term or phrase: turn off a lamp or turn a lamp off
Ok,I realize that this must sound like a crazy question, and I would't have otherwise given it a second thought; but someone has brought it up and has now got me thinking.

Do we turn off/on a lamp or do we turn a lamp off/on?
TesCor -
Canada
Local time: 00:13
both are possible
Explanation:
As a phrasal verb it can either be turn on/off the lamp or turn the lamp on/off.
However, if you replace lamp with 'it' you can only say 'turn it on/off'

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Note added at 25 mins (2005-07-25 14:00:52 GMT)
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this site may help
www.miguelmllop.com/grammars/mygrammar/adpreps.pdf
Selected response from:

suezen
Local time: 06:13
Grading comment
Thanks Suezen.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
3 +17both are possible
suezen
3 +3turn on/off the lampKen Cox
4turn the lamp off
irat56
4turn off/on a lamp
Saleh Chowdhury, Ph.D.
4 -1the tonal meanings are different in each case
Balasubramaniam L.


Discussion entries: 2





  

Answers


8 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
turn the lamp off


Explanation:
I'd rather have this one, but can't tell you why!

irat56
France
Local time: 06:13
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in FrenchFrench
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15 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
turn off/on a lamp


Explanation:
-

Saleh Chowdhury, Ph.D.
Bangladesh
Local time: 10:13
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in BengaliBengali
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14 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +3
turn on/off the lamp


Explanation:
Xounds the most natural to me (NA English), and supported by google hits for the alternatives "turn on the lamp" and "turn the lamp on". However, 'turn the lamp on/off' would certainly be understood, and it would be more natural in certain situations (e.g. for emphasis in an instruction or direct order: 'Turn the lamp on!').


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Note added at 15 mins (2005-07-25 13:50:29 GMT)
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Sorry, \'Sounds...\'

Ken Cox
Local time: 06:13
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 27

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Vicky Papaprodromou
23 mins

agree  Cilian O'Tuama: 1st Hippie: Hey man, turn the radio on. 2nd Hippie: Hey radio, I love ya! (sorry)
25 mins

agree  RHELLER: sounds like Cilian is working too hard :-)
13 hrs
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21 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +17
both are possible


Explanation:
As a phrasal verb it can either be turn on/off the lamp or turn the lamp on/off.
However, if you replace lamp with 'it' you can only say 'turn it on/off'

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 25 mins (2005-07-25 14:00:52 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

this site may help
www.miguelmllop.com/grammars/mygrammar/adpreps.pdf

suezen
Local time: 06:13
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 14
Grading comment
Thanks Suezen.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Robert Donahue
8 mins
  -> thanks Robert

agree  Vicky Papaprodromou
16 mins
  -> thanks Vicky

agree  Kevin Kelly
22 mins
  -> thanks Kevin

agree  Andrey Belousov
32 mins
  -> thanks Andrey

agree  Elizabeth Lyons: I agree but turn the lamp off sounds better to me.
36 mins
  -> Mmmm, it's true but 'can you turn off the lamp, please?' also works OK

agree  Cilian O'Tuama
43 mins
  -> thanks Cilian

agree  Armorel Young: I'd suggest a slight tendency for "turn off" to be more formal and "turn... off" more conversational. Notice in office washroom""Please turn off the light"; shouted to teenager leaving the room: "Turn the light off!"
45 mins
  -> Excellent point. Thanks!

agree  moya
55 mins
  -> thanks Moya

agree  Gabrielle Lyons
55 mins
  -> thanks Gabrielle

agree  Can Altinbay
1 hr
  -> thanks Can

agree  Clauwolf: one may alternatively destroy the bulb and replace it with a new one! :)
1 hr

agree  Sinziana Paltineanu
2 hrs

agree  nlingua: liked armorel's comment too
2 hrs

agree  Johan Venter: This is a good example of a transitive multi-word verb, in other words, both options are possible as indicated.
3 hrs

agree  RHELLER: also, commands begin with the imperative...Turn the light off
13 hrs

agree  Philippe Maillard
19 hrs

agree  John Bowden: With Armorel - some people still think you "shouldn't end a sentence with a preposition", so think "turn off the lamp" is more "correct" (not true, but old myths die hard!)
2 days1 hr
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1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): -1
the tonal meanings are different in each case


Explanation:
Both are correct but they have tonal differences:

Turn off the lamp. (A request)

Turn the lamp off. (An order)



Balasubramaniam L.
India
Local time: 09:43
Native speaker of: Native in HindiHindi
PRO pts in category: 28

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  RHELLER: they are both orders
11 hrs

disagree  John Bowden: No, there's no difference in "severity", it's simply a matter of preference where to place the preposition
2 days6 mins
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Changes made by editors
Jul 25, 2005 - Changes made by writeaway:
Field (specific)Linguistics » General / Conversation / Greetings / Letters
Jul 25, 2005 - Changes made by Agnieszka Hayward:
Field (specific)Livestock / Animal Husbandry » Linguistics
Field (write-in)hamster food » (none)
Jul 25, 2005 - Changes made by Trudy Peters:
Language pairFrench to English » English


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