Don't spit out the shells on the carpet


Senior Member
Context: I'm sitting in front of TV eating sunflower seeds. My mom says to me 'don't spit out the shells on the carpet, go bring a plate and put them on it'.
My question: Is the red part natural? If not, how would you say it?
  • suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    My question is: why does she need to say this to you? What makes you think spitting out shells onto the carpet is accepatable behaviour?! My mum would be a lot more cross than your mum if I was sitting there spitting bits onto her carpet. :eek:

    I think the most natural way to say this is "Don't spit shells onto the carpet ... "
    I don't think you need "out" because spit is already covering that idea.


    Senior Member
    India - Hindi
    Aida, did you notice that Suzi omitted not only "out" but also the definite article before "shells" and changed "on" into "onto"(which is the natural way of expressing the idea)?

    By the way, my mom would make no grammar mistakes, as she would just slap me -- actions speak louder than words!:D


    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    Sunflower seeds have "husks", or maybe others have a different word for them. "Shells" gives the wrong idea, I think.

    Don't spit the husks all over the carpet.


    Senior Member
    American English
    Hmm ... I think they're hulls rather than husks, but as a normal person in normal conversation, I would call them shells. Maybe at a gathering of botanists, I would use hulls. :)

    Don't spit the shells on the carpet. Go get a bowl.

    Did you notice that I used "the" before "shells"? Of course you did. :D It's the shells of the sunflower seeds that you're eating at the moment.
    < Previous | Next >