We recently got a great question from a Culips listener via email (Thanks Ana!), so I thought I’d share my answer here, in case other people are wondering about the same thing.
Ana wanted to know more about the verbs to ship and to deliver, and the differences between the two. This is a great questions, especially these days, when ordering things online is becoming so common!
The verbs to ship and to deliver have similar meanings, but there are some small differences. However, in some situations, people use them as synonyms, so it can get confusing.
To ship something means to cause it to be transported by someone else. For example, if you move to another country, you can ship your clothes there by sending them through the mail. You’re not the one transporting the clothes yourself, but you are causing them to be transported by paying the post office to do it for you. To ship something usually means to send it somewhere by getting someone else (like a company) to transport it for you.
The verb to ship is usually only used to talk about transporting something over a long distance, such as from one city to another, or across the ocean. If something doesn’t need to be transported very far, you can instead say that you have it delivered or get it delivered. For example, you could get flowers delivered to your mother on her birthday by calling a flower shop in your town and placing an order.
So this brings us to the verb to deliver…
To deliver something means to take something that somebody gives you and transport it to someone else. So you are the one who ships your clothes to another country, and the postal service delivers them. Even though you’re shipping the clothes, you aren’t delivering them, because you’re not the one who’s actually moving them. Similarly, when you get flowers delivered to your sweetheart, a flower shop employee is the one who delivers them.
When to ship and to deliver are used as synonyms
Sometimes these verbs are used interchangeably. For example, the website of a company that sells chocolates online might say “We’ll ship to anywhere in the world.” But it could also say, “We’ll deliver to anywhere in the world.” This is because the chocolate company might pay someone else to transport the chocolates (that is, the company ships them), or the company might have employees who transport the chocolates themselves (so the company delivers them).
But companies sometimes also say that they deliver even if they pay another company to do it.
Using to ship and to deliver in your daily life
When it comes to normal people (not companies), you should only say that you’re delivering something if you’re actually carrying the object from one place to another yourself. If somebody else transports the object for you, then you’re shipping it or having it delivered.
I hope this explanation is helpful. It’s definitely one of those things that can be confusing in English! If there’s anything about these verbs that’s still unclear to you, let me know in the comments section below and I’ll do my best to clear it up.
Hi Culips fans!
Wow, Culips is really getting into all the latest technology these days.
- You can find us on iTunes: itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/culips-esl-podcast/id279999557
- You can drop by our busy Facebook page: www.facebook.com/CulipsPodcast
- And you can follow us on Twitter: twitter.com/Culips
But the newest development in our vast multimedia empire is that our podcast is now available all over the world on Stitcher!
The Stitcher app (which is totally free) lets you listen to a ton of fantastic talk radio shows and podcasts directly from your iPhone, iPad, Android Phone, Kindle Fire, and other devices. You can even download shows to listen to them later on when you don’t have a wifi or cellular connection. When you do have a connection, Stitcher uses streaming instead of downloading the episode to your device, so you don’t have to use up space on your hard drive.
You can download the Stitcher app for free at Stitcher.com or in the app store of your phone or device.
And if you register in the Stitcher app with your Facebook account (this is optional), you can comment on our episodes right in the app. We always love to hear from you!
So give it a try and let us know what you think. Download the Stitcher app or check out the Culips ESL Podcast Station at: http://stitcher.com/s/profile.
If you’re a Culips member, you might have seen the note about this word vase having two pronunciations. Here’s a little audio clip I made using the two pronunciations so you can hear the difference. Both pronunciations are perfectly acceptable.
Hope this helps!
Do you like seafood? Are oysters common where you live?
In Canada, peak oyster season happens in the fall. Last weekend, we saw some boxes of fresh oysters in the grocery store and decided to try preparing them for ourselves! Before that, I’d only ever eaten oysters at a restaurant. There’s a popular restaurant in Montreal called The Oyster Shack that serves all kinds of oysters, but this time we wanted to test our own kitchen skills! My fiancé also practiced his photography skills by taking some great pictures of our little oyster adventure.
One of the best ways to eat oysters (at least in my opinion) is raw. First you have to carefully pry the oyster open (this is called shucking the oyster). We used a butter knife, but professional chefs have special tools designed just for this purpose. Then, add a little lemon juice and hot sauce (or some other kind of seasoning if you prefer) and you’ve got yourself a delicious appetizer!
We had lots of oysters to work with, so we also decided to bake a dish called Oysters Rockefeller, which is made up of oysters that have been shucked and topped with other yummy ingredients (like cheese, garlic, and bread crumbs), then baked in the oven.
Oysters Rockefeller was invented in 1899 by a chef in New Orleans in the US, and was named after John D. Rockefeller, the richest American at the time, because the sauce was so “rich” (that is, creamy and full of flavour).
Have you ever tried preparing oysters? Have you eaten them raw?
Thanks to Ryan King for the photos!
Over at the Culips Facebook page, we’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about why in English we don’t use the preposition to with words like home, downtown, and outside. (You can check out the Culips Facebook page at www.facebook.com/CulipsPodcast.)
So why do we say “I’m going to school” but not “I’m going to home”? Instead, we say “I’m going home,” with no preposition.
As many English teachers (and probably all English students!) will tell you, English can sometimes be a weird language, and there are some things about it that you just have to get used to by listening and reading as much as you can until things start to sound natural to you.
But that explanation isn’t very helpful when you just want to know WHY something is the way it is. So here’s my attempt at explaining why we don’t use the preposition to with certain words, like home, inside, and away.
When we say, “I went home,” the word home isn’t being used as a noun. It’s not a specific, physical place the way that school is. It’s more of an abstract, general idea. So in this case, the word home is actually an adverb (“an adverb of place” is the technical term), which doesn’t require a preposition. There are other adverbs of place like this too, and we don’t use a preposition with any of these words either.
Some examples are:
• inside/outside – It’s too cold out here. Let’s go inside.
• downstairs/upstairs – Can you please go downstairs and turn the TV off?
• downtown/uptown – Yesterday we went downtown to do some shopping.
• here/there – How was your vacation in Hawaii? I really want to go there someday!
• somewhere/anywhere – I don’t feel like going anywhere today. Let’s stay home.
• abroad – Last year I went abroad to study English.
• away – Go away. I don’t want to talk to you right now.
• back – I forgot my hat at the restaurant, but I went back and luckily it was still there.
But unlike with the words listed above, you can also use the word home as a specific place, but then you have to add the preposition to, and you also have to specify whose home it is. For example, if your friend came over for dinner, you could say, “She came to my home last weekend.” If you only said “She came home last weekend,” it would sound like you both share the same home. For example, you could say, “My wife was visiting her parents out of town, but she came home last weekend.”
We can think about this abstract/general concept to explain why we sometimes do and sometimes don’t use a preposition with home, but the truth is, it can be confusing. This is definitely one of those things that you just get better at the more you use and hear the language, but maybe this little explanation will help you to remember until then!