Re: pat dry
You take a towel and gently touch it to the surface to remove water, instead of rubbing it vigorously.
Let's say you had a big scrape on your arm. When you get out of the shower, you use your towel more vigorously to dry your back, but to dry your arm, you gently pat it dry instead of rubbing.
You often see this in recipes - rinse the chicken breasts and pat dry, for example.
I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.