#110 – TO PAD OUT

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This has several meanings, one of them literal and the other one quite idiomatic.
1. To fill some clothing with soft material (padding) to make it thicker, warmer or protective. “This coat is really warm after I padded it out with an extra layer of wool.” or “If the shoulders aren’t the right shape we can pad them out a bit.”
2. To fill some work (e.g. a piece of writing, radio, TV, a film) with unnecessary information in order to make it longer.
“The student clearly had nothing to say in her essay so she just padded it out with irrelevant statistics”


Hello everyone, my name’s Luke Thompson. You’re listening to “A Phrasal Verb a Day” and this is phrasal verb number 110. And this one definitely is 110. The last few phrasal verb episodes I’ve got a bit confused with the numbers, but this one is definitely number 110. And we’re looking at the phrase TO PAD OUT. PAD OUT, okay? To PAD something OUT. Two meanings for me, one of them is quite literal and the other one is a bit more idiomatic. Let’s start with the literal one.
Do you know what padding is? Padding. It’s like soft material that you might add in to clothing. I mean in sports, for example, you might wear pads on your legs. If you’re playing football or cricket, you might wear pads on your legs to prevent your legs from being injured like, for example, in football you wear shin pads, so that if someone kicks you in the bottom part, you know, the lower part of your leg, it doesn’t hurt so much because the shin pads contain some padding. Usually it’s made of some soft strong material or maybe even some plastic or something like that. That’s padding. Shin pads. And if you PAD OUT an item of clothing, it means you add a layer of padding, maybe to make the clothing thicker or warmer. For example, if a tailor is making a winter coat, or if a tailor is modifying a piece of clothing they might say: “What we’re going to do is just PAD this OUT a little bit by adding in some thicker material in order to make it warmer”. Okay? Or you might say…, or a taylor, a designer might say: “If you don’t like the shape of this coat, it’s OK. We can PAD OUT the shoulders to make them look a bit thicker and a bit bigger”. Okay? So, to PAD something OUT, means to add in some soft material to make it fuller, bigger, warmer, or maybe more protective, okay? That’s to PAD OUT some clothing. That’s the first one. Fairly clear, really, literal the meaning that one because pad or padding, we know what it is. It’s like soft material and if you PAD something OUT it means you fill it with soft material. Okay?

But, then the more idiomatic version would be making something longer, particularly, like a piece of work, like a piece of writing, or maybe a piece of radio, or possibly a movie or a television show or a news report. And so, if you PAD OUT, let’s say, an essay that you’re writing, if you need to PAD it OUT, it means you fill that essay with sort of unnecessary details, unnecessary stuff in order to make it longer. Okay? So, you know, I read an essay that was written by one of my students and it was clear that the student didn’t have many ideas and they were just PADDING it OUT with sort of unnecessary information and statistics. Okay? If you’re talking about a movie, you could say that the director clearly PADDED OUT the movie with a number of extra scenes, so that it would be long enough. Okay? A lazy journalist might PAD OUT the story with lots of unnecessary detail, even if it’s not completely appropriate to the story. So, to PAD something OUT, in this case means to make it longer by including lots of unnecessary stuff. Okay? You know, a lazy student wrote a report and PADDED it OUT, she PADDED it… I can’t say that for some reason, come on! She PADDED it OUT with useless facts. Can you repeat that phrase? She PADDED it OUT with useless facts. She PADDED it OUT with useless facts, meaning she filled the report with useless facts. Just to make the report longer, or maybe to fulfill the word limit for the report. Okay?

So, fill something with soft material to make it fuller, bigger, or warmer, or to fill a piece of work like a piece of writing or a piece of… film or something, fill that with unnecessary stuff in order to make that longer. Okay? All right. There you go. There’s no need for me to PAD OUT episodes of “A Phrasal Verb a Day”. In fact, really, the challenge for me is to try and keep it as short and brief as possible. There’s no need for me to PAD things OUT because I don’t want it to be longer. I want it to be short and brief. Okay, that’s it for this episode and don’t forget you can visit teacherluke.co.uk and click on “A Phrasal Verb a Day” and you’ll find pages for these episodes. Then you can ask me questions. If you have feedback or questions or comments, please do go to the website and you can actually contact me, you can get in touch with me. Another thing also is I would really appreciate it if you like this series and if you find it useful then give me a bit of encouragement and a bit of publicity by leaving a review for “A Phrasal Verb a Day” on iTunes. If you just go to iTunes, search for “A Phrasal Verb a Day”, you’ll find it. There aren’t… I don’t believe, there aren’t any reviews there at the moment, so, it would be a great assistance if you could just write a positive review, just saying, you know, if you find it useful, just explaining what you like about it, and that’s going to help the podcasts. Okay? That’s it for this one. Speak to you soon. Bye.