Don’t pick a fight you can’t win: a life and vocabulary lesson

In this post, we are going to talk about some of the more common meanings of the verb pick, and we are going to learn a life lesson too! :-)

Pick (up) something...

Pick, or more commonly pick up, means take something with your fingers. Here are some examples:

  • Jimmy picked up his Lego pieces and started to build a house.
  • When we entered, he was on his knees picking up bread crumbs off the carpet.
  • He picked up his hat, put it on, and left without saying a word.
Pick someone or something...

One meaning of pick is choose someone or something from a number of choices that you have, for example:

  • Every girl in the class would have loved to go out with him and he picked Jane?!!
  • She was very proud when she was picked to carry the flag for her country at the Olympics.

You can also use pick as a noun in this sense:

  • We can go to the cinema or lie on the sofa and watch a film on TV. Which one do you prefer? Take your pick!
  • Jeff Sessions was Donald Trump's pick for attorney-General.
  • Apple cider vinegar is the top pick for health nuts.
Pick flowers or fruit...

You can also pick flowers or fruit, which means you separate them off their stem:

  • There was a bunch of freshly picked flowers in the vase.
  • We went mushroom picking yesterday. It was fun.
  • The Grapes of Wrath is a novel by John Steinbeck about wealthy farm owners who treat their grape-pickers like slaves.
Pick your tooth or your nose...

If you pick your nose or pick your teeth, you remove things from inside your nose or between your teeth.

  • Stewart, don't pick your nose, dear. How many times do I have to tell you that it is rude to do so?
  • He had just finished his meal and was picking his teeth with a match-stick.

And can you guess the name of the thing we usually use to pick our teeth? First make a guess and then...

Click here for the answer...

A toothpick!

Pick a lock...

If someone such as a thief picks a lock, they open the lock without a key, for example by using a piece of wire.

  • He picked the drawer lock and started searching inside the drawer for the hidden love letters. 
  • James Bond picked his handcuffs with a hairpin he had borrowed from the beautiful Russian spy and saved them both from the burning house. 
Pick a fight...

And finally, if you pick a fight or an argument with someone, you intentionally start a fight or argument with that person.

  • He picked a fight with a big man in the night club and ended up in hospital.
  • Calm down! Why are you trying to pick a quarrel with me?

I hope you have found this short vocabulary lesson useful. If you like, it's a good idea to try to use the word "pick" in your comments.

And finally, let's finish this post with a life lesson!

Click here for a valuable life lesson...
Don't pick a fight you can't win!

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Jean-Marc L
Active Learner
7 years ago

At school, when I was seven years old, one day I was picking my nose. I picked up something and I took a look on the small object on my finger to exam it. Among the children the teacher picked me: “As you’ve put your finger up, answer the question I asked.”

Reply to  Jean-Marc L
7 years ago

Hilarious! :-)

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