Verbs Used with Gadgets

Using the Internet as a tool for learning. Getty Images

Today we live, work, eat and breath surrounded by gadgets. Gadgets can be defined as small devices and tools that we use to do a wide variety of tasks. Generally speaking, gadgets are electronics, but some gadgets such as a 'can opener' are not. Today we have many mobile devices that are our favorite gadgets.

There are a number of common verbs used to describe the actions we take with these devices.

This article focuses on the proper verbs to express these actions for gadgets in the home, cars, computers, tablets and smartphones.

Lights

turn on / turn off

The verbs turn on and turn off are the most common verbs used with a wide range of electronic devices including lights.

Could you turn the lights on?
I'll turn off the lights when I leave the house.

switch on / switch off

As an alternate to 'turn on' and 'turn off' we use 'switch on' and 'switch off' especially for devices with buttons and switches.

Let me switch on the lamp.
Could you switch the lamp off?

dim / brighten

Sometimes we need to adjust the brightness of lights. In that case, use 'dim' to reduce light or 'brighten' to increase light.

The lights too bright. Could you dim them?
I can't read this newspaper. Can you brighten the lights?

turn up / down

'Turn up' and 'turn down' are also sometimes used with the same meaning as 'dim' and 'brighten'.

 

I can't read this very well could you turn up the lights?
Lets' turn down the lights, put on some jazz and get cozy.

Music

We all love music, don't we? Use start and stop with music devices such as stereos, cassette players, record players, etc. These verbs are also used when speaking about listening to music with popular music programs such as iTunes or apps on smartphones.

 

start / stop

Click on the play icon to start listening.
To stop replay just tap the play button again.

play / pause

Just click here to play the music.
Click on the play icon a second time to pause music.

We need to adjust volume as well. Use the verbs 'adjust', 'turn the volume up or down'.

Adjust the volume on the device by pressing these buttons.
Press this button to turn the volume up, or this button to turn down the volume.

increase / decrease / reduce

You can also use increase/decrease or reduce to speak about adjusting the volume:

You can increase or decrease volume using the controls on the device.
Could you please reduce the volume? It's too loud!

Computers / Tablets / Smart Phones

Finally, we all use a wide range of computers which can include laptops, desktop computers, tablets, and smartphones. 

We can use the simple verbs 'turn' and 'switch on' and 'switch off' with computers.

turn on / switch on / turn off / switch off

Could you turn on the computer?
I want to switch off the computer before we leave.

Boot and restart are terms that are often used to describe starting your computing device. Sometimes it's necessary to restart a computing device when you install software to update the computer.

 

boot (up) / shut down / restart

Boot the computer and let's get to work!
I need to restart the computer to install the software.

It's also necessary to start and stop using programs on our computers. Use open and close:

open / close

Open Word on your computer and create a new document.
Close a few programs and your computer will work better.

Launch and exit are also used to describe starting and stopping programs.

launch / exit

Click on the icon to launch the program and get to work.
In Windows, click on the X in the upper right-hand corner to exit the program.

On the computer, we need to click and double click programs and files to use them:

click / double click 

Click on any window to make it the active program.
Double click on the icon to launch the program.

On tablets and smartphones we tab and double tap:

tap / double tap

Tap any app on your smartphone to open.
Double tap the screen to see the data.

cars

start / turn on / turn off

Before we go anywhere we need to start or turn on the engine. When we're done we turn off the engine.

Start the car by placing the key in the ignition.
Turn off the car by turning the key to the left.
Turn on the car by pressing this button.

Put, place and remove are used to more precisely how we start and stop our cars.

Put the key into the ignition / remove the key
Place the key into the ignition and start the car.
After you have put the car in park, remove the key from the ignition.

Driving the car involves using different gears. Use these verbs to describe the various steps.

put into drive / gears / reverse / park 

Once you've started the car, put the car into reverse the car out of the garage.
Put the car into drive and step on the gas to accelerate.
Change gears by depressing the clutch and shifting gears.

Gadget Verbs Quiz

Test your knowledge with the following quiz.

  1. The light is too bright. Could you _____ it?
  2. On your smartphone, _____ on any icon to open an app.
  3. To _____ your computer, press the 'on' button.
  4. I can't hear the music. Could you _____ the volume _____?
  5. 'Reduce volume' means to ______ volume.
  6. _____ the key into the ignition and start the car. 
  7. _____ your car in that garage.
  8. To drive forward, _____ drive and step on the gas.
  9. Click on the icon to _____ Word for Windows.
  10. Click on the X in the upper right-hand corner to _____ the program.
  11. Do you _____ your computer before you go home every evening?

    Answers

    1. dim 
    2. tap
    3. boot (up)
    4. turn the volume up
    5. decrease
    6. Put
    7. Park
    8. Put into 
    9. launch
    10. close
    11. boot down / turn off