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When used as a verb, the word "stick" is very popular and can be used a few different ways:

The verb "stick" is similar to the verb "put."

simple past past participle
  • You can stick this in the drawer.
  • Bob quickly stuck something in his pocket.
  • Stick this in the freezer so it doesn’t melt.
  • Many people stick pictures of their family on the refrigerator.
  • Someone stuck his finger into the top of the cake.
  • If you stick your finger into the light socket of a lamp when it’s turned on, you’ll get an electric shock. (Don’t do that!)

When something has an adhesive backing, or when something stays in one place, you can use the word "stick."

  • You have to stick these decals on your license plates to show that you’ve paid your car registration.
  • I have a bunch of post-it-notes sticking on my computer.
  • There’s a spider sticking to the side of the wall.
  • The snow isn’t sticking to the ground because the ground is too warm.

When something is visible, or a part of something is easy to see, you can use "stick."

  • Pete’s sunglasses are sticking out of his pocket.
  • There are some tree branches sticking out of the water.
  • There’s something sharp sticking out of the package.

There are a few interesting idioms and verb phrases that include the word "stick."

  • Why don’t you stick around for a while? (stick around = stay)
  • You should stick up for people who need help or can’t defend themselves. (stick up = defend)
  • If you stick with your English lessons, you will improve your English. (stick with = continue)
  • Children stick closely to their parents when they’re little. (stick to = stay close)
  • The woman who lives across the street is so stuck up, she won’t talk to any of her neighbors. (stuck up = arrogant; conceited)

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This page was first published on February 5, 2012.



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