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Thread: pick things out

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    pick things out

    What does this " pick things out " mean? "to understand" or "to choose"?

    34)The ancient Greeks called the bright star that sometimes lights
    up the evening western sky “Hesperus”; they called the bright
    star that could be seen some mornings in the east “Phosphorus.”
    We now know that they both refer to the same thing ─ the planet
    Venus. Both words refer to the same thing, but it doesn’t seem
    right at all to say therefore that for the ancient Greeks they had
    the same meaning. We need to distinguish two aspects of
    meaning: the thing referred to in the world and the sense that we
    get by capturing the world as we understand it. The sense is our
    internal, abstract specification that enables us to pick things out in
    the world; the reference is the thing referred to. So for the Greeks,
    Hesperus and Phosphorus

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    Re: pick things out

    The phrase is closer to "to choose" or "to distinguish", but it's just my opinion.
    "To pick things out" is not exactly synonymous to "to understand", but to either "to choose" in the physical sense, or "to discern" in the mental sense.
    Well, that's my humble thought.
    Last edited by Rover_KE; 06-Sep-2014 at 08:44. Reason: Deleting unnecessary quote.
    Please notify me of any mistakes in my posts. It is much appreciated.

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    Re: pick things out

    not a teacher

    I largely agree with khanhhung's post.
    We use "to pick out", meaning "to choose", in a sentence like "Take this box of chocolates and pick out the ones you like".
    But your quote uses "pick out" in the sense of "discern", "perceive", "detect", as in:
    At nighttime, when the moon is full, you can pick out details of the countryside for quite a distance.
    I can see a group of people down the street, but I can't pick out anyone I know.

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