turn on a faucet?

Discussion in 'English Only' started by ChrisCashman, Dec 4, 2006.

  1. ChrisCashman

    ChrisCashman Senior Member

    Chicago, IL USA
    USA English - Midwest
    How would one go about using the word "faucet"? Do you turn on a faucet? Turn a faucet? Turn off a faucet, or shut it off? Ehhh....I'm preparing a lesson for my ESL students for tomorrrow, and even I as a native speaker am a little hung up on how we use it! When would one refer to a faucet other than in a repair situation?
  2. Random1 Senior Member

    Upstate New York (State)
    English - USA
    I think I say "turn on the faucet."
  3. Londoner06

    Londoner06 Senior Member

    London, UK
    US/English, Spanish
    Hi Chris, one turns a faucet on and off. If you were installing a faucet you may "turn" it left or right I guess but ordinarily we turn faucets on and off. Anyway, it's probably best to keep it clear and simple for ESL students :)

    Hope this helps.

  4. Summerj4444 Junior Member

    English, Canada
    I vote for 'turn on the faucet'..

    'She walked to the sink, turned on the faucet, and washed her hands.'

    Sounds good to me.
  5. Joelline

    Joelline Senior Member

    USA (W. Pennsylvania)
    American English
    Isn't it strange how the most common phrase in our native language suddenly sounds strange (especially when teaching ESL)? In any case, I, too, vote for "turn on" "turn off" when one is speaking of using the faucet (but Londoner's point is also valid when installing or repairing a faucet).
  6. Dr. Quizá

    Dr. Quizá Senior Member

    Esuri - Huelva York.
    Spain - Western Andalusian Spanish.
    What about "open the faucet"?
  7. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod

    If I were partially disassembling the faucet to replace a worn seal or washer, I might be opening it up, but I wouldn't say "open the faucet" to mean "turn it so that water comes out." I might "open a valve" by turning a handle but I wouldn't "open a faucet." It's interesting. They appear to be the same function but I don't refer to them the same way.
  8. Q-cumber

    Q-cumber Senior Member

    A bit on the side
    Interesting. In Russian we normally say "open/close the faucet".
  9. veermer Senior Member

    italy italian
    Since you are talking about turning on/off faucets I was wondering if you can use tap instaead of faucet.
  10. GreenWhiteBlue

    GreenWhiteBlue Senior Member

    New York
    USA - English
    It depends on where you are. I am a New Yorker, and tap sounds perfectly natural to me. However, when I said to a plumbing company's secretary in Pennsylvania that I needed to replace the taps in the bathtub at my sister's house there, she had no idea what I was talking about until I finally said "faucets".
  11. dobes Senior Member

    bratislava, slovakia
    US English(Boston/NY)
    I've heard "open the faucet" meaning turn it on and "close the faucet" meaning turn it off. Don't know where I've heard it or when, but it's familiar to me. I think I usually say "faucet" rather than tap, but I use them interchangeably.
  12. AWordLover

    AWordLover Senior Member

    Atlanta, Georgia USA
    USA English
    Hi All,

    I'm with the majority (so far), I turn the faucet on/off.
    I've heard open/close. (somehow it seems Germanic).

    I've heard faucet, tap, valve, and spigot for things controlling the flow of water. I've never known anyone to have a kitchen value or kitchen spigot.
  13. Teafrog

    Teafrog Senior Member

    UK English (& rusty French…)
    I'll add my 2 cent's worth (or penny's worth, in my case). :)

    One turns a faucet on and off, like you would switch a light on and off.

    Turning a faucet would be whilst working on it, you might want to 'twist it' to to face a particular direction > you turn it towards the room (as opposed to making face the wall!).

    As an aside, we call them "taps" in the UK.

    Finally, allow me a dumb Q: What does "ESL" stand for? English Speaking Learners?
  14. dobes Senior Member

    bratislava, slovakia
    US English(Boston/NY)
    English as a Second Language.
  15. perfavore Senior Member

    Philippines - Tagalog
    English as a Second Language.
  16. Teafrog

    Teafrog Senior Member

    UK English (& rusty French…)
    Thanks guys> My thinking cap was not straight! > I should have guessed that! :eek:
  17. writersblock75 New Member

    Filipino-Tagalog, International English
    This is really useful. I was supposed to ask the same question. But anyways thanks
  18. kalamazoo Senior Member

    US, English
    To say "open" or "close" the faucet (or the light) is a common error among non-native English speakers, but I think we more often turn them on or off.
  19. Andygc

    Andygc Senior Member

    British English
    Interesting, it is not an error in BE (apart from saying faucet :D)

    I open the tap, I turn on the tap. I close the tap, I turn off the tap.

    John, turn the tap off. John, will you close that tap, it's dripping!
    John, turn on the tap and I'll water the flowers. John, open the tap a bit more, the pressure's too low.
  20. kalamazoo Senior Member

    US, English
    I think you can open a tap in AmE also but I don't think you can open a faucet.
  21. Otacon Senior Member

    Español (México)
    I'm not sure since i'm not native, but maybe it depends on the "mechanism" that you use for letting the water come out? You allow the water to come out sometimes by turning something (a faucet) but sometimes you "open" a tap, by tapping it. Please let me know if i'm completely lost :p
  22. dadane Senior Member

    New Zealand
    English (London/Essex)
    No, I 'turn the tap on' and I 'turn it off' again, the mechanism has nothing to do with it. Old taps were rotary, so this may be where the 'turn' in this context originates but it is certainly not relevant nowadays, I push a button to 'turn on' the TV.
  23. Otacon Senior Member

    Español (México)
    Yes, you are right. How come I didn't even think of the action of turning on/off a TV :p thanks for warning me how lost I am haha. :)

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