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Hi, everybody. Welcome back to Know Your Verbs. My name is Alisha, and in this lesson, we're going to talk about the verb "set." Let's begin.
Let's begin with the basic definition of the verb "set." So the basic definition. The basic definition is to put something in a place or in a position. Some examples of this, "I always set my keys on the counter. Set your bag next to the table." Okay. Let's look at the conjugations for this verb. Present: set, sets. Past: set. Past participle: set. Progressive: setting. Alright. Now, let's look at some additional meanings for this verb. So, the first additional meaning of the verb "set" refers to the position, meaning like the place or the time that a story happens. So, some examples, "The movie is set in New York City." "My favorite book is set in the distant future."
In these examples, we see the verb "set" is used to refer to the place or the time when a story happens. In the first example, I say, "The movie is set in New York City." It means the story takes place in New York City. So, "set" means takes place in, the story happens in New York City. But we use "set" to explain that. "My favorite book is set in the distant future." So this refers to a time. So, the setting, the point in time when the story happens is in the distant future. So, distant future means far, far, far in the future, into the future, not the past, the future. So, in the distant future. This story happens in the distant future. But we use "set." "My favorite story, my favorite book is set in the distant future." So here, we see it used to refer to the location or the time when a story takes place.
The second meaning for today is to cause someone or something to be in a condition. This is a very open, this is a very broad meaning. Let's look at a few examples, some common examples here. First, "You set my house on fire? The performance animal was set free." Okay. So, in the first example, very dramatic example, I said, "You set my house on fire?" So, here, I said "set" and then the object here is my house. "You set my house," and then the condition is, "on fire." So, "on fire" means it's burning, flames, bad. My house is going to crumble to pieces. "You set my house on fire" means you caused my house to be in the condition of on fire. You've caused my house to be flaming. That's bad of course in this case. But "set" refers to causing an object to be in that condition.
We see the same thing in the second example sentence. "The performance animal was set free." So, "free" here we see is the condition, the animal. A performance animal, probably in a zoo or a water park or something, was set, so caused to be free, caused to become free. So, the performance animal was not free before. It was set free. It was caused to become free. So, we can see "set" is used to cause a change in condition in something. These are a couple examples of how to do that.
The third meaning for today is to establish something. So, to establish something like a policy or a new condition, a record, something like that. Examples of this, "The school is setting new rules for next year. They're about to set a new record." Okay. So, here, "set" is used to mean establishing something. In the first example sentence, I said, "The school is setting new rules for next year." So, that means the school is establishing now. The school is in the process of establishing new policies for the next year. New rules. So, "setting," I've used in the progressive tense means establishing or creating. In the second example sentence, "They're going to set a new record," means they're going to establish, they're going to create a new record. So, we use "set" in this case to set a record.
Let's go to the fourth meaning for this verb. The fourth meaning here is to get something ready for use. So, like we set up the camera or we set up the iPad. We set up the lights for this filming operation here. So, "set up" is a very, very common way of using the verb "set." To set up something. Other examples, "I spent all day setting up my computer. Will you set the alarm for 8:00 a.m.?" In my second sentence there, you heard I said, "Will you set the alarm for 8:00 a.m.?" So that means it's like I'm preparing the alarm. In that case, I'm not preparing something for use. I'm preparing a function in that case. We don't say, "Will you set up the alarm for 8:00 a.m.?" We'll just say, "Set the alarm for 8:00 a.m."
We would say, "Set up the computer because I want to use it." I'm not setting a function of the computer. We could say, "Set the clock on the computer." We would not say, "Set up the clock." We would say, "Set the clock." So "set the clock" is like establishing the correct time. To set up something is like to prepare it to be used. "Set up a computer." Good. "Set up a software." Fine. But set a clock. Set an alarm. It's like to decide a time or to establish some kind of functionality. We don't need to use up in those cases.
So this will be an addition to meaning number four. I want to say just a quick note about how it's often used. Okay. So, with this meaning, when we use the verb "set" to refer to getting something ready to use, like with a computer, for example, we'll often follow "set" with the preposition "up." For example, "I want to set up my computer" or "I spent all day setting up my computer," in my original example sentence. You might see "set" plus "up." It's commonly used with "up." Not always. If you're talking more about functionality, like "set an alarm" or "set the clock," then you don't need to use a preposition. But when you're talking about preparing something for use, you'll often see that "up," the preposition "up" is used in addition to "set." So to set up something. One more example might be, "To set the coffee pot in the coffee maker." So you're preparing it for use. But we don't say, "Set up the coffee pot." We say, "Set the coffee pot in the coffee maker to prepare it for use."
Let's talk about some variations of how you can use the verb "set." First one, "To set back." To set back means to cause a delay in something. Examples, "I broke my wrist and set back my project schedule." That's true. "This mistake has set us back two weeks." So here, we're seeing "set back," to set something back, causing a delay. So, "I broke my wrist and set back my project schedule. I broke my wrist and caused my project schedule to be delayed. I caused a delay in the project as a result of breaking my wrist." So to cause delay.
In the second one, "This mistake has set us back two weeks." So, "This mistake has set us back." Meaning, caused us a delay by two weeks. So, set us. We see the object there is included in the verb, the phrasal verb, "set us back." So what was set back? Us in our project, in whatever it is we're working on. "This mistake has set us back two weeks. We were caused to be delayed by the mistake." So to set back. Or we can also use it as a noun, a "setback." The second variation is "to set out." This actually has two meanings. It can mean to begin a journey, especially like a walking journey, to set out for something. It can also mean to begin an activity.
So, let's look at some examples. First, "They set out early in the morning. He set out to build his own company." In the first example sentence, "They set out early in the morning," means they left, they began their journey early in the morning. So, this is especially the case for walking journeys. It's not only for walking journeys, but it has the feeling of a little more like bodily journeying somehow. So, like, "We set out on our bike ride," or something like that. There's something kind of bodily happening, I guess, if that makes sense.
Then in the second example, "He set out to build his own company." So "set out" means like he started the activity of building his own company, is what that means, or like, "She set out to become the top in her class," for example. So, she started the activity of working to become top in her class. So, to set out to do something is to start working towards something. So, to start an activity usually with some goal in mind, to set out to do something.
So, those are a few, maybe, new ways for you that you can use the word "set." If you have some other ways that you know of to use the verb "set," if you have any questions or if you just want to try to make some example sentences, please feel free to do so in the comments. Thanks very much for watching this episode of Know Your Verbs and we'll see you again soon. Bye.