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When a person cleans, he or she washes away dirt or organizes an area. This is a very common word that is used every day in English.

The first set of examples shows how "clean" is used as a verb:

simple past past participle
  • Oscar cleans his room almost every day. (present tense)
  • Alice cleaned her kitchen yesterday. (past tense)
  • Did you clean your house last weekend? (past tense)
  • They’re cleaning their apartment. (present continuous tense)
  • We have to clean up this mess.
  • Have the students cleaned the classroom? (present perfect tense)
  • The room hasn’t been cleaned yet. (present perfect tense, passive voice)

The word "clean" is also used as an adjective:

  • The room is clean.
  • It’s a very clean room.
  • These dishes aren’t very clean.
  • Are their hands clean?
  • The opposite of "clean" is "dirty."
  • How does she keep her kids so clean?
  • It’s hard to keep the house clean.
  • The air in that city isn’t clean. It’s polluted.
  • Solar and wind energy are very clean when compared to energy produced by oil and gas.
  • They want to live clean lives. (clean life = good behavior)
  • The Nelsons hired a cleaning lady to clean their house once a week. (cleaning lady = housekeeper)

There are quite a few idioms and expressions that use the word "clean."

  • Jose went to the racetrack yesterday and cleaned up. (clean up = to make a lot of money)
  • The arresting officer said that the suspect was clean. (clean = no weapon)
  • That company won’t hire you if don’t have a clean record. (clean record = no criminal offenses)
  • You can tell a few jokes but try to keep them clean. (clean = not rude or vulgar)
  • He’s going to have to clean up his act. (clean up one’s act = start leading a better life)
  • Regina finally came clean and admitted that she stole the money. (come clean = admit the truth)
  • That wasn’t a clean fight. (clean = fair)
  • Our neighbors had to clean out their life savings to pay for an expensive medical treatment. (clean out = use all of)
  • Tom seems like a regular, clean-cut kid. (clean cut = nice, well behaved, well groomed)
  • Try to keep your nose clean. (Try to stay away from trouble.)

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January 3, 2016



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