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Hi, everybody. Welcome back to Know Your Verbs. My name is Alisha and, in this episode, we're going to talk about the verb, "fly." Let's get started.
Okay. Let's talk about the basic definition of the verb, "fly." The basic definition is to travel through the air. Some examples: "We flew to Moscow from London." "A bird flew into my window."
Now, let's look at the conjugations for this verb. Present, fly/flies. Past, flew. Past participle, flown. Progressive, flying.
Okay. So, now let's talk about some additional meetings for this verb. The first additional meaning is to wave in the air while being attached to something else. So, this is like flags or we'll see some other examples. Example sentences: "That boat is flying a French flag." "Let's fly kites this afternoon." So, in both of these example sentences, we see objects which are waving in the air in some way but they're attached to something else. In the first example sentence, it's a flag. "The boat is flying a French flag," which means the boat is displaying a French flag, the flag is attached to the boat but it's waving in the air. In the second example sentence, "let's fly kites this afternoon," a kite is a toy that waves in the air but it's attached to a string that a person holds. So, we use the verb, "fly," to talk about this activity, "let's fly kites this afternoon."
Okay. Let's go on to the second additional meaning for this verb. The second additional meaning is to move very quickly. Some examples of this: "His sports car flew past us on the highway." "She flew down the hall to turn in her paper before the deadline." Okay. So, in both of these example sentences, we see the word, "fly," or a conjugated version of it. However, it doesn't mean traveling through the air. It just means moving super-fast. So, in the first example, it's a sports car. "The sports car flew past us on the highway" means the sports car went past us very, very quickly. So, we use the verb, "flew," I think because flying, like in order to fly, you have to move quickly. There's not really slow flying. So, we use the verb, "fly," or in this case, "flew," past tense, to express that the car was traveling very fast. In the second example sentence, "she flew down the hall," it means, probably, she was running so she was traveling really quickly to turn in her paper before the deadline. So, when we want to talk about moving fast, like extra, extra fast, we can use the verb, "fly," instead of like "move" or "run" or "drive." So, it's kind of like an extra level of speed. So, you can try that out.
Okay. Let's go on to the third meaning for this verb. The third meaning is to escape. Some examples: "My bird flew its cage." "He had to fly from the city to save his life." Okay. So, "fly" is used in these sentences to mean escape. You won't really hear this used so much in everyday conversation. You may, however, see this in novels or in other writing. It's a little more common these days to see that in written English, especially when telling stories or, maybe, when reading things from a long time ago. We don't use it that much in everyday conversation in American English these days, but it does have this meaning, to escape.
The fourth meaning is to pass information quickly, like gossip or rumors, or accusations. Examples: "Accusations of mismanagement are flying." "Rumors flew that they were dating." So, the idea here is that information is moving so quickly, it's like the information is flying from one person to another. It's so fast. In the first example, "accusations of mismanagement were flying," so here it's a passive expression, were flying, presumably among people in the company or in like among people who are related to the situation. But, accusations were flying means like all these accusations were going around at very fast speed. In the second example sentence, "rumors flew that they were dating," it's like all these people have rumors, have ideas, about this couple. Are they dating? Aren't they dating? What's the story? So, all of those are rumors that people are passing quickly among one another.
Okay. So, now, let's look at some variations, some other ways to use this verb. The first variation is to "fly at someone." This means to move quickly at someone, like an attack. Examples: "The murderer flew at the hero." "She flew at me, shouting about my mistakes." When someone flies at someone else, the key preposition there is "at someone else," it's like one person doesn't move but another person, usually because they're feeling extremely emotional, like kind of moves quickly towards them, usually like because they're angry, I think. And, maybe, they're going to attack this other person, but they move very suddenly and very quickly to another person. So, again, we use the verb, "fly," to talk about that. It's like very quick, very sudden motion. In the first example sentence, "the murderer flew at the hero," it's like the hero was standing somewhere and a murderer tried to attack the hero, flew at the hero, moved quickly. The second example sentence is the same, "she flew at me, shouting about my mistakes." So, there's some anger, some unhappy feeling that's happening there, but we use the verb, "fly," to talk about quick motion, like attacking motion too.
The next variation is "to fly blind." This expression means to do something without being able to see the way forward. It means to do something by guessing. When I was researching this, actually, it said that this phrase originated or started in World War II, actually. Pilots in World War II, when like their radio controls or their communications stopped working, they had to fly their planes using only like the controls they had in the plane. So, they couldn't contact anyone outside the plane. So, flying blind, actually, the flying part comes from that, apparently; "blind" means unable to see. So, "flying blind" now these days doesn't only mean flying a plane without having communications. It means doing something without being able to have like outside help or outside guidance or knowing exactly what to do.
So, examples: "Our radios are down. We're flying blind." "I have no idea how to fill out these forms. I'm flying blind." So, in the second example, in particular, it's kind of a modern-day situation, where, I don't know what to do, I'm doing my best with these forms, but I'm flying blind. I have no idea what to do. I'm guessing.
So, those are a few new ways, I hope, that you can use the verb, "fly." There are some other ways too, so if you know some other ways or if you have any questions or if you want to try to make an example sentence, 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-bye!