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  1. #1
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    Default "clear away" vs. "clear up"

    Which word would you choose to fill in the gap following?
    John tidied the living room while I cleared _____ the dirty dishes.
    A. away B. out C. up D. off

    I chose A and the answer key was also A. But when I looked up the dictionary to verify the answer, I found out that "clear away" and "clear up" had the same meaning - to make a place look tidier by putting things back where they belong. So why choose A not C?
    Please help me. Thanks in advance.
    Last edited by linhtho0211; 09-Jun-2009 at 14:30.

  2. #2
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is online now Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: "clear away" vs. "clear up"

    Quote Originally Posted by linhtho0211 View Post
    Which word would you choose to fill in the gap following?
    John tidied the living room while I cleared _____ the dirty dishes.
    A. away B. out C. up D. off

    I chose A and the answer key was also A. But when I looked up the dictionary to verify the answer, I found out that "clear away" and "clear up" had the same meaning - to make a place look tidier by putting things back where they belong. So why to choose A not C?
    Please help me. Thanks in advance.
    I would choose C. Clearing up, when used with a direct object, is something you do after an accident. You clear up broken glass. When there is no object, just a general lack of tidiness, what you do is clear up, either with no object or with an object that relates to location: 'She cleared up the living room.'

    If the dirty dishes are on the table in the dining room, the sequence (in my use of the verbs) is:

    • Clear the table / Clear the dishes away [the dirty dishes are not ready to be put away - they have just been moved to the kitchen]
    • Wash up
    • Dry up
    • Put the dishes away


    The dictionary that told you the two phrasal verbs 'had the same meaning' was over-simplifying (probably for lack of space). There are contexts where their meanings are similar.

    b
    Last edited by BobK; 09-Jun-2009 at 14:00. Reason: Expand

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