Set must be one of the most useful words in the English language. Consider how many things it can be used to express – I am sure you can think of plenty, without even looking in the dictionary.


It must be great fun to learn as a non-native speaker; you set out a proposal, you can set out a table, but you can also set out for London or set out to prove someone wrong. And then, if at the outset you don’t want to set out for London, you can set off instead. But be careful, as you can also set off a machine and even set off fireworks, not to mention setting someone off talking, as the train sets off.


The sun sets, I can set my alarm clock to go off, you can win a set in tennis, buy a set of spoons, and even a badger lives in a set, though you might also write it sett. You can be set in your ways, and leave a jelly to set. You can set things up for a party, and set dominoes up, but also set someone up to look guilty, (which may make them upset!) or even set up shop. A gang may set upon you, while you may be set on doing something, and you can set the vase on the table, if you don’t want to set the vase down. A fall in house prices might be a setback in the real estate business, and a disaster could set the economy back ten years.


All set?


3 thoughts on “Setting

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