turn on a faucet?

Senordineroman

Senior Member
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?
 
  • Londoner06

    Senior Member
    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.

    Londoner06
     

    Summerj4444

    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.
     

    Joelline

    Senior Member
    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).
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    What about "open the faucet"?
    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.
     

    Q-cumber

    Senior Member
    JamesM
    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.
    Interesting. In Russian we normally say "open/close the faucet".
     

    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.
     

    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    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".
     

    dobes

    Senior Member
    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.
     

    AWordLover

    Senior Member
    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.
     

    Teafrog

    Senior Member
    UK English (& rusty French…)
    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?
    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?
     

    perfavore

    Senior Member
    USA
    Philippines - Tagalog
    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?
    English as a Second Language.
     

    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.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British 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.
    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.
     

    Otacon

    Senior Member
    Español (México)
    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.
    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
     

    dadane

    Senior Member
    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.
     

    Otacon

    Senior Member
    Español (México)
    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.
    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. :)
     

    Marco G

    New Member
    Spanish
    The thing is that in Spanish people say open/close the faucet. In English I'm used to saying open/close the water.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    In English I'm used to saying open/close the water
    Well, you had better stop being used to it. ;) It's not English. You can "turn the water on" and "turn the water off", but you can't "open the water" or "close the water".
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    The thing is that in Spanish people say open/close the faucet. In English I'm used to saying open/close the water.
    Welcome to the forum, Marco.
    One of the first things you will find here is the rather large number of learners who attempt to force English into their native language, with disastrous results.:rolleyes:
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    Do you mean that you wouldn't use the present tense, or you wouldn't use "open" with "tap"?
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I've always told my kids off for saying open/close the tap/light. I consider them* the product of foreign language interference.

    * The expressions, not the kids.:)
     
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