Monday, February 13, 2012

Pick it up

If you need to “pick it up”, you need to go faster or hurry, because you are doing something too slowly. In this comic strip, there is a literal and figurative meaning: Pick up the game/ pick up the golf ball.
**Another (similar) meaning of “pick up” is when something “gets busier”.

1. Often I tell myself to pick it up, otherwise my English students may arrive while I’m still in the shower.

2. In a long-distance cycling race or in a marathon, people who are lagging behind will find it almost impossible to catch up to (reach) the frontrunners if they don’t pick up the pace early enough.

3 We need to pick things up when we have a deadline and are racing against the clock. It’s not easy to get your kids to pick it up when you’re running late!

4. Have you ever asked a taxi driver or someone driving a car to pick it up because you had a job interview to get to? It’s nerve-wracking when it depends on someone else whether you arrive on time or not.

5. FIFA's secretary general, Jerome Valcke, scolded Brazil again for being behind schedule in stadium preparations for the 2014 World Cup. He said, “there is not a single stadium ready today." He is pushing Brazilian lawmakers to pick up the pace.

6. Here is a small sample of what a spinning instructor might say in a spinning workout at the gym: “Now are you ready! All the way up off the seat, Level 3 - 15 sec, Level 4 - 15 sec, Level 5 - 15 sec, level 6 - 15 sec. Good job. Now Level 4, sit down on the seat. Pick up the pace! Let’s go, good job. Level 4 - 30 sec. push it!!

**7. After the Carnival, private English classes will pick up a whole lot more for me, because as they say here in Brazil, the year only begins after Carnival. Tourism picks up a lot here during Carnival.


  1. Another possible meaning of "pick something up":
    When you pick something up, you learn it easily, sometimes by chance and without much effort.

    Where did you pick up that idea?
    Please, don´t pick up bad habits.

  2. Great blog, as always,very helpfully. Thanks Frank.

  3. Thanks for the extra information :) If you can find a comic strip or cartoon including pick up in that context, I will be more than happy to create a lesson for that. Sometimes I can't find comic strips for specific phrases.

    Pick up (as a phrasal verb) has MANY different meanings:

    -> You can pick up your kids from school
    -> You can pick up an ability (as you mentioned) that is learned informally
    -> You can pick someone up at a party (people who have a one night stand).
    -> If you pick up the bill at a restaurant (reluctantly) it means that the others can't pay, so the responsibility falls on your shoulders. Also known as "to foot the bill"
    -> It could be to buy something... "please pick up some milk when you pass by the supermarket"
    -> It could be to continue a conversation or anything else... "Let's pick up where we left off"
    There are many more meanings I can't remember right now... all of which are common.

    Also, thanks for the comment Santiago!

  4. Hi Frank,

    I already knew the meaning of pick as a way to choose something, for instance: If someone as you what color do you prefer, you can reply: I'll pick up the red one. or pick up a person... It's always great to figure out news possibilities about the same expression...

    Have a great week!


  5. Hi Roberto,
    Actually, to use "Pick" as a synonym for "choose" we don't use the preposition "up"... just the verb "pick".

    There is an expression, "to pick and choose", which is saying the same thing twice... but it describes a situation where someone has many options available. For example, if I have a lot of job offers, I could pick and choose which offer I'd like to accept, because I am in a privileged position. In normal situations we would just use, "pick".

    For example, a magician who does card tricks will say, "Pick a card, any card"

  6. Wow!!! Good to know...

    Thanks a lot!


  7. In the modern, post-industrial, deeply informational world we often have to pick up the information consumption and processing speed to keep up with latest news, articles, and books. At least, those concerning your profession.

    No, I've never asked someone driving a car to pick it up to be in time for an interview. The reason is very simple: if the interview is important for me, I'll do my best to get to the place beforehand. If I fail, I'm the only one to blame. Does it make sense?

    BTW, I'm noticing small, new improvements on the blog. Anonymous comments, chat at the top, comments have numbers now. These things may come in handy later.


  8. Hi Eugene (Pluton),
    Great example for pick up!
    You make absolute sense... I agree that it's "better safe than sorry".
    Wow... you noticed all 3 of the changes I've made. By the way, if you would like to suggest any changes or extra things you would like to see on the blog in terms of style, aesthetics and also just being user-friendly, I am open to changes. It's easy to modify any blog. Marcos helped me decide on the best place for a chat box today. I'm still playing with that idea.

  9. It's nerve-wracking when one of the members in the team doesn't pick up the pace even though there's little time.