Put to use

To put something to use is to make it useful (if it's not already)

Lesson #
June 29, 2023
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Transcript

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Put to use

Today’s expression is “put to use.” When you put something to use, you take something (or someone!) that’s not doing anything, and you make it do something good and valuable. You put it to use.

Today’s story was about fish farming . Fish produce solid waste. In net pens, the waste falls to the ocean floor, where it can damage the local ecosystem. But on dry land farms, that’s not the case. The farmers just extract the waste from the tanks.

Then, what do they do with it? It’s waste. It’s not doing anything. It’s unwanted. They could dig a hole and bury it, I suppose. They could burn it? I have no idea—I don’t want to know what that smells like.

But actually, they put the waste to use. It turns out that waste from fish farms can be used to produce methane gas and, from that, electricity. Now that’s something that’s useful! So they took this waste, which was not doing anything good, and they started using it to make electricity. They put it to use.

They can also put this waste to use as fertilizer in hydroponic farms. You learned about that in Lesson 417—where they grow plants that are not actually planted in soil . Fish farmers can take the waste from their fish and put it to use as fertilizer in hydroponic farms.

A great way to use “put to use” is with skills. A lot of us have skills, we have abilities, that we don’t use. Let’s say you work at an office job, but years ago you painted houses and did some light repair work. So you know how to install a ceiling fan, paint a room, put up drywall, maybe do some light carpentry. But that was a long time ago—you work in an office now.

But you might put those skills to use by volunteering at a local school. So you have these skills. They’re not doing anything for you at your desk job. But if you volunteer one day a month at a local school, you can use your skills to help with projects there. You can put your skills to use.

Have you ever been to a party or an event, and you see the party or event organizer running around doing lots of errands, starting to get overwhelmed? Here’s something you can say in that situation: “Put me to use.”

I’m standing here doing nothing! I’m useless, milling about chit-chatting with people. I hate idle chit-chat! Put me to use. Use my abilities. Tell me to…I don’t know…bring out some new chairs or tables, collect the empty glasses, whatever. Put me to use—give me something useful to do.

JR’s song of the week

Today’s song of the week is “Killing Me Softly With His Song” by Roberta Flack. This is an interesting one—you’ve probably heard the main refrain of this song before. You might have heard a cover that came out not long ago.

The writer of the song is named Lori Lieberman. And she wrote the song about the experience of watching another singer, Don MacLean. And the lyrics go like this:

“I heard he sang a good song, I heard he had a style. And so I came to see him, and listen for a while”

Then she says he was “Telling my whole life with his words, killing me softly with his song.”

So this song, “Killing Me Softly With His Song” is really about someone watching another singer and being moved by the performance. The Roberta Flack version is the song of the week.

Want to listen to today’s song? Join as a free member and you can listen to JR’s song directly from the transcript.

See you next time!

And that’s it; that’s all for today’s Plain English. I survived another science-based story, congratulations to me for that, and congratulations to you for sticking with us for Lesson 585. Remember JR has uploaded the full content to PlainEnglish.com/585.

And also remember that if you’d like to use ChatGPT and other artificial intelligence tools to upgrade your English—then come join us in Plain English Plus+, where we are building out a special new course on artificial intelligence for English learning.

The first modules are available now. The first one is about when to use ChatGPT and when to use Google Translate so that you can get the best results from your translations. The second module—and this is an interesting one—is all about the different ways you can ask ChatGPT to give you a translation.

And it’s more than just saying “translate this to another language.” This is how we get embarrassing or incorrect translations. But with these tools, you’ll be prepared to get the best possible translations out of ChatGPT.

And that’s the second topic in the course that’s already available in Plain English Plus+, called “AI for Learning English.”

If you’re already a member, go to the bottom of your dashboard: you’ll see it. If you’re not yet a member, then you can join us at PlainEnglish.com/Plus and you will have instant access to all our great ChatGPT and AI resources in that course.

That’s all for today. We’ll be back on Monday. See you then.

¿Hablas español?

The transcript of this lesson is available with interactive translations into Spanish. In each lesson transcript, we select about one hundred difficult words, phrases , and expressions for translation.

How is this different than simply using a translation engine?

Translation engines are powerful tools for communicating in the modern world . However, they often miss the context and can either mislead you or leave you confused . Our human translators are here to make sure that you’re getting not only the correct definition, but also the full context .

How can I use the translations in my studies?

Most members use the translations as they are listening to the lesson and reading along . When you come across a word you don’t understand, you don’t have to press pause to discover the meaning . You can simply hover your mouse over the highlighted word . This lets you learn the definition of the word without having to press pause on the audio.

Do the translations work on mobile?

Yes! Instead of hovering over a highlighted word, just tap on it .

How can I access the translations?

Translations are included in two memberships: Plain English Plus+ and Starter. Choose a plan and get started today!

你说中国话?

The transcript of this lesson is available with interactive translations into your language. In each lesson transcript, we select about one hundred difficult words, phrases , and expressions for translation.

How is this different than simply using a translation engine?

Translation engines are powerful tools for communicating in the modern world . However, they often miss the context and can either mislead you or leave you confused . Our human translators are here to make sure that you’re getting not only the correct definition, but also the full context .

How can I use the translations in my studies?

Most members use the translations as they are listening to the lesson and reading along . When you come across a word you don’t understand, you don’t have to press pause to discover the meaning . You can simply hover your mouse over the highlighted word . This lets you learn the definition of the word without having to press pause on the audio.

Do the translations work on mobile?

Yes! Instead of hovering over a highlighted word, just tap on it .

How can I access the translations?

Translations are included in two memberships: Plain English Plus+ and Starter. Choose a plan and get started today!

Parlez-vous français?

The transcript of this lesson is available with interactive translations into your language. In each lesson transcript, we select about one hundred difficult words, phrases , and expressions for translation.

How is this different than simply using a translation engine?

Translation engines are powerful tools for communicating in the modern world . However, they often miss the context and can either mislead you or leave you confused . Our human translators are here to make sure that you’re getting not only the correct definition, but also the full context .

How can I use the translations in my studies?

Most members use the translations as they are listening to the lesson and reading along . When you come across a word you don’t understand, you don’t have to press pause to discover the meaning . You can simply hover your mouse over the highlighted word . This lets you learn the definition of the word without having to press pause on the audio.

Do the translations work on mobile?

Yes! Instead of hovering over a highlighted word, just tap on it .

Can I see a sample?

Yes, please visit PlainEnglish.com/sample to see a sample episode with the Spanish translations.

How can I access the translations?

Translations are included in two memberships: Plain English Plus+ and Starter. Choose a plan and get started today!

Você fala português?

The transcript of this lesson is available with interactive translations into your language. In each lesson transcript, we select about one hundred difficult words, phrases , and expressions for translation.

How is this different than simply using a translation engine?

Translation engines are powerful tools for communicating in the modern world . However, they often miss the context and can either mislead you or leave you confused . Our human translators are here to make sure that you’re getting not only the correct definition, but also the full context .

How can I use the translations in my studies?

Most members use the translations as they are listening to the lesson and reading along . When you come across a word you don’t understand, you don’t have to press pause to discover the meaning . You can simply hover your mouse over the highlighted word . This lets you learn the definition of the word without having to press pause on the audio.

Do the translations work on mobile?

Yes! Instead of hovering over a highlighted word, just tap on it .

Can I see a sample?

Yes, please visit PlainEnglish.com/sample to see a sample episode with the Spanish translations.

How can I access the translations?

Translations are included in two memberships: Plain English Plus+ and Starter. Choose a plan and get started today!

日本語は話せますか?

The transcript of this lesson is available with interactive translations into your language. In each lesson transcript, we select about one hundred difficult words, phrases , and expressions for translation.

How is this different than simply using a translation engine?

Translation engines are powerful tools for communicating in the modern world . However, they often miss the context and can either mislead you or leave you confused . Our human translators are here to make sure that you’re getting not only the correct definition, but also the full context .

How can I use the translations in my studies?

Most members use the translations as they are listening to the lesson and reading along . When you come across a word you don’t understand, you don’t have to press pause to discover the meaning . You can simply hover your mouse over the highlighted word . This lets you learn the definition of the word without having to press pause on the audio.

Do the translations work on mobile?

Yes! Instead of hovering over a highlighted word, just tap on it .

Can I see a sample?

Yes, please visit PlainEnglish.com/sample to see a sample episode with the Spanish translations.

How can I access the translations?

Translations are included in two memberships: Plain English Plus+ and Starter. Choose a plan and get started today!

Parli italiano?

The transcript of this lesson is available with interactive translations into your language. In each lesson transcript, we select about one hundred difficult words, phrases , and expressions for translation.

How is this different than simply using a translation engine?

Translation engines are powerful tools for communicating in the modern world . However, they often miss the context and can either mislead you or leave you confused . Our human translators are here to make sure that you’re getting not only the correct definition, but also the full context .

How can I use the translations in my studies?

Most members use the translations as they are listening to the lesson and reading along . When you come across a word you don’t understand, you don’t have to press pause to discover the meaning . You can simply hover your mouse over the highlighted word . This lets you learn the definition of the word without having to press pause on the audio.

Do the translations work on mobile?

Yes! Instead of hovering over a highlighted word, just tap on it .

Can I see a sample?

Yes, please visit PlainEnglish.com/sample to see a sample episode with the Spanish translations.

How can I access the translations?

Translations are included in two memberships: Plain English Plus+ and Starter. Choose a plan and get started today!

Sprechen Sie Deutsch?

The transcript of this lesson is available with interactive translations into your language. In each lesson transcript, we select about one hundred difficult words, phrases , and expressions for translation.

How is this different than simply using a translation engine?

Translation engines are powerful tools for communicating in the modern world . However, they often miss the context and can either mislead you or leave you confused . Our human translators are here to make sure that you’re getting not only the correct definition, but also the full context .

How can I use the translations in my studies?

Most members use the translations as they are listening to the lesson and reading along . When you come across a word you don’t understand, you don’t have to press pause to discover the meaning . You can simply hover your mouse over the highlighted word . This lets you learn the definition of the word without having to press pause on the audio.

Do the translations work on mobile?

Yes! Instead of hovering over a highlighted word, just tap on it .

Can I see a sample?

Yes, please visit PlainEnglish.com/sample to see a sample episode with the Spanish translations.

How can I access the translations?

Translations are included in two memberships: Plain English Plus+ and Starter. Choose a plan and get started today!

Sen Türkçe konuşmayı biliyor musun?

The transcripts of Plain English lessons are available with interactive translations into your language. In each lesson transcript, we select about one hundred difficult words, phrases , and expressions for translation. Turkish translations are available starting at Lesson 278.

How is this different than simply using a translation engine?

Translation engines are powerful tools for communicating in the modern world . However, they often miss the context and can either mislead you or leave you confused . Our human translators are here to make sure that you’re getting not only the correct definition, but also the full context .

How can I use the translations in my studies?

Most members use the translations as they are listening to the lesson and reading along . When you come across a word you don’t understand, you don’t have to press pause to discover the meaning . You can simply hover your mouse over the highlighted word . This lets you learn the definition of the word without having to press pause on the audio.

Do the translations work on mobile?

Yes! Instead of hovering over a highlighted word, just tap on it .

Can I see a sample?

Yes, please visit PlainEnglish.com/sample to see a sample episode with the Spanish translations.

How can I access the translations?

Translations are included in two memberships: Plain English Plus+ and Starter. Choose a plan and get started today!

Mówisz po polsku?

The transcript of Plain English lessons are available with interactive translations into your language. In each lesson transcript, we select about one hundred difficult words, phrases , and expressions for translation. Polish translations are available starting at Lesson 278.

How is this different than simply using a translation engine?

Translation engines are powerful tools for communicating in the modern world . However, they often miss the context and can either mislead you or leave you confused . Our human translators are here to make sure that you’re getting not only the correct definition, but also the full context .

How can I use the translations in my studies?

Most members use the translations as they are listening to the lesson and reading along . When you come across a word you don’t understand, you don’t have to press pause to discover the meaning . You can simply hover your mouse over the highlighted word . This lets you learn the definition of the word without having to press pause on the audio.

Do the translations work on mobile?

Yes! Instead of hovering over a highlighted word, just tap on it .

Can I see a sample?

Yes, please visit PlainEnglish.com/sample to see a sample episode with the Spanish translations.

How can I access the translations?

Translations are included in two memberships: Plain English Plus+ and Starter. Choose a plan and get started today!

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