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  1. englishhobby's Avatar
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    #1

    Wait a minute. The plane is towing.

    How would a native speaker understand (interpret) the phrase said by pilot (in a plane): 'Wait a minute. The plane is towing'.
    Last edited by englishhobby; 26-Apr-2016 at 11:20.
    If I were a native speaker of English, I would never shut up. :-)

  2. Piscean's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Wait a minute. The plane is towing.

    Unless the plane were towing a glider, I wouldn't understand it.

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    #3

    Re: Wait a minute. The plane is towing.

    The plane is being towed.

  3. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Wait a minute. The plane is towing.

    I'd want to know what it's towing!
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

  4. Piscean's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Wait a minute. The plane is towing.

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    The plane is being towed.
    Then it's not towing.

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    #6

    Re: Wait a minute. The plane is towing.

    Precisely. At some airports the planes are brought to/from the gates by ground crew using ground vehicles.

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    #7

    Re: Wait a minute. The plane is towing.

    Quote Originally Posted by englishhobby View Post
    How would a native speaker understand (interpret) the phrase said by pilot (in a plane): 'Wait a minute. The plane is towing'.
    I would think "No it isn't. The plane is being towed. I wonder what our pilot's first language is?"
    I am not a teacher.

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    #8

    Re: Wait a minute. The plane is towing.

    Could this be a case where it's so obvious what is towing what that the pilot has begun to use the active voice to describe what is actually a passive action, just because it's easier to say? I'm just guessing.

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    #9

    Re: Wait a minute. The plane is towing.

    I'm wondering under what circumstances a pilot would say this, and to whom.

    Presumably the pilot would know that his meaning would be clear to whoever was listing to his message.

  5. englishhobby's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: Wait a minute. The plane is towing.

    A pilot whom I talked with (obviously, English is not his first language) explained it to me that just before landing the plane 'tows' a little which means it kind of moves back just for a second or so and the passengers are not allowed to get up at this moment yet. He is learning English and wants to speak with his passengers in proper English and he asked me to help him find a suitable phrase. I told him that the passengers might not understand the word 'tow' (the pilots' slang). May be he should just say something like 'Stay in your seats please. The plane is still landing'.
    If I were a native speaker of English, I would never shut up. :-)

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