you can pack away!

stamanu

Senior Member
French by descent and misfortune
Hi everyone!
I don't know when to use that sentence in my English classroom. It's a question of usage that has to do with the phrasal verb "to pack away".
Does it mean you can both pack your schoolthings(put your stuff back into your bags) and go away/out or just you can pack fullstop (and the kids must wait for another signal to go out of the classroom.)?
Thanks for your answers
 
  • Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Give us more context, please, Stamanu.

    One might say 'Pack away your things', or you could say to someone who you were cross with and thought unhelpful 'Pack away!'.

    In neither case would it be suggesting that the other person left.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Pack away does not mean pack up and leave - not to me anyway.

    I'm having to think about what "pack away" might mean.
    In the context you have given, I think "pack away" means put all the school equipment in its proper place.
    The kids would also "pack up" their own things, ready to take them home with them.

    Thinking even harder :) - the kids "put away" rather than "pack away" the school stuff.

    No matter which terms you use to organise the tidying up, none of them include a signal to go out of the classroom.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Then it's 'pack up your things' or 'pack away your things' - that's an instruction to stop working and get ready to leave. You need to add 'and go' to either instruction, if you are allowing them to go.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Thank you!
    Is it possible to say "pack away" alone still in the context of the classroom, without saying "your things", as it's part of routine everyday instructions.
    No, not really. Pack away would be something you said to a pupil who said he was bent on packing, and you didn't want to stop him - note, he's then packing, not packing away. (It's the construction I mentioned in post 2.)

    To pack can be transitive or intransitive. You've got to pack away something. To pack up can be intransitive.

    You can add away to many imperatives to mean 'all right, go on do it as much as you like, I don't care'.

    "Fire away" - go on, fire at will.
    "Write away" - go on, write as much as you wish.
     

    Scribblerr

    Senior Member
    English US
    I can't think of any context in which you'll hear "pack away" in American English. At the end of class, you might hear "pack up," though. Never "pack away."

    Edited to change my mind!
    No, not really. Pack away would be something you said to a pupil who said he was bent on packing, and you didn't want to stop him - note, he's then packing, not packing away. (It's the construction I mentioned in post 2.)
    Even though I've never heard anyone say "pack away," Thomas is, of course, entirely correct that it could be used in this sense. But it's a bit of a one off. Not something you'd hear every day (or more than a couple of times in a lifetime, I imagine!)

    Angry wife is throwing things in a suitcase. Husband asks "What the hell are you doing?"
    "I'm packing!"
    "Pack away, then!"
     
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    stamanu

    Senior Member
    French by descent and misfortune
    I don't want to cause too much confusion but I 've found lots of instances of "pack away" relating to school on the web such as this one at www.princehenrys.worcs.sch.uk/downloads/BR-AMD-BEHAVIOURBOOKL-T2008.doc -

    End of Lessons
    ·Bells and clocks are not signals for you. They are for the information of your teacher.
    ·You should not begin to pack away or put on outdoor wear until your teacher tells you to do so.
    ·When told, stand and push in or put up your chairs. Any litter should be picked up.
    ·Only when your teacher finally tells you to go may you leave the room.

    Or that one :
    5. Do not deface school property. Do not drop litter. Respect school books and equipment 6.Do not fight or bully other pupils, do not push in. 7. Always work sensibly and quietly, wait until told to pack away.


    So I'm stuck and back to square one, I don't know what to think...
     
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    Scribblerr

    Senior Member
    English US
    Are you using BrE or AmE? If you're using AmE, say "Pack up." If you're using BrE, apparently you can say "Pack away.' Simple as that, really.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Are you using BrE or AmE? If you're using AmE, say "Pack up." If you're using BrE, apparently you can say "Pack away.' Simple as that, really.
    Hi Scribblerr,

    When I said
    You've got to pack away something.
    I was speaking seriously about current practice in BE, as I know it, which is pretty well. I'm a little surprised to learn what has become apparent to you in the thread.

    I don't think the writer of the school rules for the Worcestershire School has a firm grasp of English idiom. Maybe they do talk like that at that school, but I've never heard the expression used in the many schools I have been into. That's not to say I wouldn't understand it, just as one understands a lot of things which are said in life.

    Perhaps the person delegated to write school rules isn't the most literate member of staff.
     
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    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Just to confirm that there are two meanings.

    (1) As Thomas Thompion (no. 8) indicates 'away' can be used in the sense of continuing to do something maybe with some enthusiasm, as in 'He was singing away in the shower', 'She dug away in the garden'. I think this use is certainly available in AmE.

    This can be used sarcastically.
    A: If you're not discussing this, I'm going shopping.
    B: Shop away, see if I care!

    (2) The other 'pack away' means 'pack up and put away', and apparently is not AmE. [Afterword: it looks as if it's also available in AmE - see Æsop #15] I can imagine saying 'Time to pack up!' but not 'Time to pack away!' For me 'pack away' requires an object; I can imagine saying to a class, 'Time to pack away your things' or 'Time to pack your things away'.
     
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    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    Notice that "pack away" can also mean "eat with a great deal of appetitite."

    Rosabella: I never saw anyone eat so much as your Uncle Nunzio did tonight.
    Tony: Yes, he certainly can pack away the pasta, can't he?
     

    Æsop

    Banned
    English--American (upstate NY)
    I just packed away my Christmas decorations. They're now in a closet in the basement, and in my attic, in northern Virginia, U.S.A. I won't take them out again until next December.

    I'm too old to worry about directions to school children, but I would not expect my sister the 1st grade teacher in Maryland, U.S.A., to tell her pupils to "pack away" at the end of the day, but rather to "pack up" their stuff and get out the door. If she wasn't eager to dismiss them, and they were working on a project, she might tell them to "pack away" the supplies for another day—to put them their boxes or whatever, and then into cupboards.
     
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