phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Set up

Posted by Smokey Stover on April 02, 2004

In Reply to: Set up posted by sphinx on April 02, 2004

: When a man spoke on the phone to a company that he wanted to "set up" an telephone service, did he mean that he wanted to have his telephone fixed?

: Thanks!

Set up means a host of things, but this use is one of the most typical. The man wants telephone service "set up" for him, meaning that he wants the phone company to start phone service. It does not mean he wants a phone fixed; he probably did not yet have a phone at the time of the call. (In this case, don't say "an telephone service." The "an" form of the indefinite object is used only when the following word starts with a vowel. And in this case there should be no indefinite article anyway.) Whether setting up phone service involved the phone company installing the man's phone or not depends on the practice in his area. But it certainly will include wiring his home or office for such service. But even the amount of wiring they do depends on local practice and customer preference. In any case, setting something up does not mean having it fixed. It means getting it there or getting it running, getting it started, getting it installed, getting it going, placing it there, preparing it for use. SS

Bummer! I meant "indefinite article," of course, not "indefinite object." Sheesh! SS