Results 1 to 3 of 3
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    3
    Post Thanks / Like

    Question Taken X Spoken For

    Hi -
    My name is Valdeck. I am originally from Brazil, but I have been living in the U.S. for a long time, and it is now my home.
    I've always loved learning languages. The English language has always fascinated me since I was in my early teens. Learning new words, phrasal verbs, slangs and/or expressions is like tapping into a whole new universe of possibilities to express my experiences and the reality around me.
    Recently, a friend of mine used the verb "to speak" in a way that was unfamiliar to me. I looked it up in several sources, but to no avail. His sentence was: "He's already spoken for". When I asked him what he meant, he said "He's already taken". We were talking about a guy who was in a committed relationship, and therefore was not available for dating. Can you explain to me if this is correct? Why can't I find this usage in a dictionary?
    Thank you for your help.
    Valdeck

  2. #2
    Ouisch's Avatar
    Ouisch is offline Moderator
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    4,142
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Taken X Spoken For

    Yes, his usage is correct. I've always presumed this idiom evolved from the practice of verbally claiming something as your own. For example, a dinner guest excuses himself from the table momentarily. Before leaving, he quietly asks the hostess to please save him a piece of pie for dessert. While he's away, the other guests start helping themselves to dessert. One person reaches for the last slice of pie, and the hostess politely stops him, telling him, "I'm sorry, but that piece is already spoken for."

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    3
    Post Thanks / Like

    Smile Re: Taken X Spoken For

    Quote Originally Posted by Ouisch
    Yes, his usage is correct. I've always presumed this idiom evolved from the practice of verbally claiming something as your own. For example, a dinner guest excuses himself from the table momentarily. Before leaving, he quietly asks the hostess to please save him a piece of pie for dessert. While he's away, the other guests start helping themselves to dessert. One person reaches for the last slice of pie, and the hostess politely stops him, telling him, "I'm sorry, but that piece is already spoken for."
    Hey Ouish, thank you for your prompt reply. The explanation you provided was very helpful. The idiom makes much more sense to me now.

Similar Threads

  1. The Teaching of Spoken English language
    By Anonymous in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 10-Jul-2009, 12:09
  2. Is there a grammar of spoken English?
    By M56 in forum General Language Discussions
    Replies: 25
    Last Post: 09-Feb-2009, 00:58
  3. why didnt latin become the spoken language of english after 597?
    By Unregisteredkhni in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 29-Sep-2006, 08:53
  4. spoken English
    By Sabine_tue in forum General Language Discussions
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 17-Feb-2006, 19:03
  5. Why not “I’ve spoken ... today”?
    By alesult in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 12-May-2005, 14:51

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •