#122 – TO PICK UP ON

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1. to talk about something specific that someone else already mentioned
2. to notice or register something that’s changed


Hello, my name’s Luke Thompson. You’re listening to ‘A Phrasal Verb a Day’ and here it is, here’s your phrasal verb. This one is ‘to pick up on’, ‘to pick up on something’, okay? So, a couple of different meanings, one of them would be to talk in more detail about something that someone has already mentioned. So, for example, if you’re sitting there watching someone’s presentation and they mention one detail, at the end of the presentation you can ask a question, you can just say:

– I’d like to just pick up on something you said at the beginning of the presentation

meaning I’d like to just, sort of, just mention something that you’ve already mentioned. So, specifically talk about something that you mentioned earlier, to pick up on something.

– You know, I’d just like to pick up on a couple of points you made earlier about our marketing plan

for example, alright?

And then another one would be to react to something that has happened or what you’ve noticed. So, sort of, to register something. For example, if you…, oh, I don’t know. Let’s see… It could be the story of someone having an affair, for example and, you know, he came home and his wife picked up on something different. She didn’t know what it was at first but there was something different. She just picked up on something and then she realised that he smelt of perfume and it wasn’t hers. So, there you go, it’s, sort of like, to notice something or to… when something registers, to pick up on something.

Yeah, like when you…, you go out with a couple of friends, you know, male and female friends, for example, and you noticed that they’re sort of behaving a bit differently. You’re thinking ‘Oh, hello. What’s going on here?’ and then they say to you – Oh, we’ve just got something to say. Yeah, we’re getting married – and you go – Wow! I thought that there was something. I picked up on something. I knew there was something going on. Congratulations – for example. OK. So, there you go. That’s the phrase ‘to pick up on something’ and that’s your phrasal verb for today… Goodbye.