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Lesson Transcript

Hi, everybody! My name is Alisha.
Welcome back to Know Your Verbs. In this lesson, we're going to talk about the verb "catch." Let's get started.
The basic definition of the verb "catch" is "to gain hold of something (that is travelling through the air)," moving through the air, usually.
"She caught the ball!"
"Catch this!"
Let's look at the conjugations for this verb.
Present: catch, catches
Past: caught
Past Participle: caught
Progressive: catching
Now, let's talk about some additional meanings for this verb. The first additional meaning for this verb is to find or see someone doing something wrong.
Some examples…
"I caught you trying to steal from the company safe."
"Have you ever been caught eating late at night?"
So, in both of these example sentences, we see behavior being discovered that is wrong in some way. In the first example sentence, "I caught you trying to steal from the company safe." Someone was discovered trying to steal from the company's safe. That was a bad behavior, so we used the verb "catch," in this case, past tense, "caught," "I caught you" meaning I discovered you, I saw you doing this thing that was bad.
We see the same thing in the second example sentence, but it's phrased as a question, "Have you ever been caught eating late at night?" So eating late at night is kind of considered to be unhealthy, is not typically a good behavior, so we can use the verb "catch," in this case, "caught," "Have you ever been caught..." the past participle form to express this question, "Have you ever been caught eating late night?"
Let's move on to the second additional meaning for this verb which is "to be held or stuck to something."
So, examples…
"My jacket got caught on the door."
"I caught my hair on a hook!"
So both of these examples refer to something on our bodies like the first example sentence is about a jacket. We can use it for clothing. So it's like, if your clothing gets caught on something, so my shirt is caught on my finger right now, I would say, so it's stuck here, I can't move it, so I have to release it from my finger. We'd use caught to talk about that.
My second example sentence was about my hair like I got my hair caught on a hook or I caught my hair on a hook. It's somehow stuck or attached to something else, so we use "catch" to talk about this. Of course, we can use it with other things like headphones, for example, like I always catch my headphones on doorknobs. That is true, like the doorknob is like, or door handles like my headphone is like wrapped around as I'm leaving the house and like, ah! It's stuck on that. That happens all the time.
So you can use it to talk about your body parts, your clothing or just other objects too that get held in place on accident with "catch." I got something caught on something else.
The third additional meaning for this verb is "to be able to hear something."
"I didn't catch what you said."
"She couldn't catch any of the announcements in the noisy train station."
So this means "to be able to hear something."
In the first example sentence, it's a negative, "I didn't catch what you said." In other words, I was not able to hear what you said, I didn't catch what you said or I didn't catch that. It means I couldn't hear you, in other words.
In the second example sentence, it's about a noisy train station where a person cannot catch the announcements, can't hear the announcements. I can't quite catch what the announcements are saying, so that means it's difficult to hear or it's difficult to understand the announcements because it's a noisy environment. So "catch" can mean "be able to hear something."
Okay, the fourth additional meaning for this verb is "to start burning" like to start a fire, specifically.
"His house caught fire late last night."
"The curtains caught fire because they were too close to a candle."
So, "to catch fire" means to start a fire, to start something burning. "To catch fire" is the moment that a flame appears somewhere. So catching fire is not like kind of the smouldering coals, not like the glowing coals in something, but it's actual flame. So to start a fire is like that moment of, woah, like there's suddenly heat and there's suddenly, you know, like a candle, for example. The candle, we can light a candle on fire.
But I should say, we tend to use the expression "catches fire" or something caught fire because of an accident. So, we don't say like, "I went camping and the wood caught on fire." We use "caught on fire" for like something that was maybe not on purpose.
So in my two example sentences, the first one, "His house caught on fire late last night." He wasn't planning for his house to go up in flames, but it happened. In the second example sentence, it's curtains too close to a candle, so there's kind of this nuance of an accident, a bad accident. If you don't want to imply an accident, if you want to show that something was on purpose, you can use the verb light, past tense, lit, like, "I lit a fire with a lighter," or "Let's light a fire in the barbeque," for example. So, "to light a fire" is on purpose. For something "to catch a fire" sounds like, oh, it was maybe an accident or not on purpose.
Let's move on to some variations for this verb now.
The first variation is "to catch someone's eye."
This means to attract attention usually for a positive reason.
"That sale caught my eye."
"An advertisement for a wine party caught his eye."
So, this is kind of a strange expression when you think about it. Like to catch someone's eye is like kind of gross, like you imagine like someone's eyeball, catching an eyeball, but, actually, it just means drawing the attention of the eye.
So, in the first example sentence, it's about a sale, the sale caught my eyes, so meaning, I saw an advertisement for a sale, my eye was attracted to the advertisement for that. The second example sentence is the same, an advertisement for a wine party caught his eye, so there's some wine party, tasting wines, whatever. For whatever reason, it attracts his eye or it attracts his vision, so he looks at it. We say, "it caught his eye," attracts attention, usually for a positive reason.
So the second variation is "to catch up with."
So, this is an expression that means to talk about life since the last time you met.
Some examples…
"I caught up with a friend from elementary school!"
"Let's catch up again soon!"
So, catching up with someone refers to talking with another person or talking with other people about the recent events in your life. So, from the last time you saw someone, what have you done? So, if you haven't seen someone since elementary school as in the first example sentence, you talk about all the things that you have done since elementary school, so maybe that's a long time for some of you.
Or, if it's somebody that you have seen recently, you could try using the second example sentence, "Let's catch up again soon," meaning, maybe after a few weeks or a month or so, you want to meet that person again and find out what they did. So, this is a nice expression that's like you want to know what the other person is doing or what they have done since the last time you saw them. Let's catch up.
So, those are a few different ways to use the verb "catch." I hope that you found something new here. If you have any questions, comments, or if you want to try to make an example sentence, please feel free to do so in the comment section of this video. Thanks very much for watching this episode of Know Your Verbs and we'll see you again next time. Bye-bye!