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10 Words with Important 2nd Meanings

Everyone knows the main meanings of words like “stand”, “tell”, "should", and “suggest”, but do you know their common 2nd meaning? These 10 words have a common second meaning that some English learners may not realize.


Should = if

  • Should you lose your ticket, you’ll have to buy a new one (if you lose your ticket)

  • Should the jury find him guilty, he’ll go to jail (if the jury finds him guilty)

  • Should you require any help, just call me (if you need any help)

To stand = to tolerate

  • I can’t stand his voice! (I can’t tolerate)

  • How can you stand that smell? (How can you tolerate?)

  • He can’t stand seeing his ex-girlfriend (he can’t tolerate seeing)

To run = to manage

  • He runs his own business (he manages)

  • My parents run a small hotel (my parents manage)

  • who is running this event? (who is managing this event?)

To see = to understand

  • Don’t you see? (Don’t you understand?)

  • I see what you mean (I understand)

  • He doesn’t see my point (he doesn’t understand)

To tell = to determine

  • I can’t tell the difference (I can’t determine)

  • Can you tell which boy is older? (Can you determine?)

  • It’s hard to tell when someone is lying (It’s hard to determine)

To suggest = to imply

  • She suggested that the food wasn’t good (she implied)

  • His behaviour suggested that he disagreed with me (his behaviour implied)

  • His tone suggested he was being sarcastic (his tone implied)

To kid = to joke

  • I’m just kidding (I’m just joking)

  • Are you kidding? (Are you joking?)

  • Don’t take his comments seriously. He was kidding (he was joking)

To object = to disagree

  • I hope he doesn’t object (I hope he doesn’t disagree)

  • She objected to my proposal (she disagreed)

  • My lawyer objected to the witness’s statement (my lawyer disagreed)

To bet = to be sure (usually when you are giving your own opinion/prediction)

  • I bet that he'll arrive late like usual.

  • I bet they will break up soon. They seem like an unhappy couple.

  • I bet the traffic will be terrible. It's always bad in the morning.

To bear = to produce children

  • Women are not bearing as many children as they used to (women are not producing children)

  • She bore four children (she produced four children)

  • Women who bear children over 40 have increased health risks (women who produce children over 40…)

Note: this is where the past participle “born” comes from “I was born (by my mother) in 1987.”


Practice

Rewrite each sentence below using one of the words from this lesson:

kid / should / bear / bet / tell / see / object / suggest / run / stand

  1. She manages her own catering company.

  2. The author of the article implies that the government overreacted to the pandemic.

  3. I was just joking about your hairstyle.

  4. I can’t tolerate stubborn people.

  5. It’s harder for women to produce children after the age of 35.

  6. I thought it would be a good idea to change our office layout but my manager disagreed.

  7. I’m sure she won’t remember me.

  8. I understand your point.

  9. If you require assistance, call our front desk and they will be happy to help.

  10. I can’t determine if he’s joking or being serious.

Answers

  1. She runs her own catering company.

  2. The author of the article suggests that the government overreacted to the pandemic.

  3. I was just kidding about your hairstyle.

  4. I can’t stand stubborn people.

  5. It’s harder for women to bear children after the age of 35.

  6. I thought it would be a good idea to change our office layout but my manager objected.

  7. I bet she won’t remember me.

  8. I see your point.

  9. Should you require assistance, call our front desk and they will be happy to help.

  10. I can’t tell if he’s joking or being serious.



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