recharge (top up) mobile phone

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Daffodil100, Nov 4, 2010.

  1. Daffodil100

    Daffodil100 Senior Member

    Chinese
    The text I quoted is the English instructions from China Mobile Limited, which is one of the two major mobile phone service companies in China, about how to top up a mobile phone .

    The word -recharge is used to charge electricity only instead of money. Am I correct?

    Thank you!
     
  2. owlman5

    owlman5 Senior Member

    Colorado
    English-US
    No, Daffodil. Your text uses "recharge" to talk about money. When you "recharge" an account, you pay the company more money so that you can continue to use the phone service.
     
  3. Daffodil100

    Daffodil100 Senior Member

    Chinese
    Thank you very much, Owlman.
     
  4. Copyright

    Copyright Senior Member

    Penang
    American English
    This is the way they're using recharge, but they probably should have found a better word. :) As we progress in the Age of Technology, we find that words are being used for new and different purposes ... not always to best advantage.
     
  5. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    I agree with Copyright. It's clear what they mean, but to me they're using the wrong word. I would get confused with the use of "recharge" to mean "recharge your mobile phone battery":(.

    Owlman, would you say "recharge your account" is now normal usage and I (with my hankering after "top up") am just behind the times?
     
  6. Cagey post mod

    California
    English - US
    I think it is not the times but the place that makes the difference. There are several discussions in which BE speakers refer to "topping up" their phone cards, and AE speakers respond by saying that they had never heard this use. Here are a couple of them:

    I hadn't had the chance to top up
    top off / top up
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2010
  7. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Thanks, Cagey:). So the normal AmE term for adding money to a mobile phone account would be "recharge"?
     
  8. owlman5

    owlman5 Senior Member

    Colorado
    English-US
    Hello, Loob. I don't like "recharge" here either. I agree with Copyright that there are better words out there for this. In talking about my own account with my service provider, I usually just call it "paying the phone bill". :)
     
  9. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Thanks, owlman:). That said, "paying the phone bill" works for me when you're talking about paying for calls which have already been made, or when you pay a monthly fee which gives you unlimited calls. I'm assuming, though, that what's at issue here is putting money into a pay-as-you-go account so you have credit to pay for phone calls as and when you make them. Is there a word in AmE for that?
     
  10. owlman5

    owlman5 Senior Member

    Colorado
    English-US
    That's a good question, Loob. I'd call it something awkward like "depositing more money in the account". That's probably too clumsy for people who do this often, which may explain the use of "recharge" here. After mulling this over, I can't think of anything that sounds better. I came up with "refresh", "renew", and "refill". None of these sounds like an improvement to me.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2010
  11. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Thanks again, owlman:). It seems that our collective advice to Daffodil is that "recharge" is slightly odd when the meaning is "add credit to an account"; but that while BrE has the handy term "top up", AmE doesn't have an obvious equivalent.

    (I suspect there's a cultural difference here to do with use of pay-as-you-go mobiles:D.)
     
  12. owlman5

    owlman5 Senior Member

    Colorado
    English-US
    Loob, this is right on point: ...but that while BrE has the handy term "top up", AmE doesn't have an obvious equivalent.

    Cagey mentioned other threads in which the Americans all replied that they'd never heard the term used this way. I hadn't either, but I'd sure understand it if somebody told me they had to "top up" their phone account. I'd probably use "top off" with the same meaning, which is what I use for gas tanks, etc.
     
  13. airportzombie

    airportzombie Senior Member

    Toronto
    English - CaE/AmE
  14. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Thanks, zombie - very interesting:).
     
  15. kitenok Senior Member

    I am one of a minority of Americans with a pay-as-you-go cell phone. As luck would have it, I just got an email from Verizon with the following reminder:

    In other places, they speak of "adding minutes." I expect that in most situations, I would use some variation on this "adding minutes" theme. They don't say anything about recharging anything, but I'd understand them if they did. If they said something about "topping up your account," I would understand them only because I read this forum.
     
  16. Daffodil100

    Daffodil100 Senior Member

    Chinese
    Thank you very much for your input, everyone. :)
     

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