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To "tune" something is to adjust it or work on it so that it’s better than it was before.

simple past past participle
  • Theresa had her car tuned by a mechanic. He changed the spark plugs, checked the timing, and changed the oil and the filters.
  • Bob’s car hasn’t been tuned in a while. It needs to be tuned. (The word "tune" is passive in these sentences.)
  • Pedro knows how to tune his guitar by ear.
  • I can tune my guitar, but I need a tuner in order to get it right.
  • The school hired someone to tune the piano in the basement. It’s out of tune.

guitar tuner

guitar tuner

To "tune in" is to pay close attention to something; to "tune out" is to try not to listen:

  • The people in the audience really tuned in to the speaker’s message.
  • Make sure you tune in tomorrow to learn the latest news. (The phrase "tune in" is often used for television.)
  • It was hard to tune out all the noise that was coming from the other room.

The word "tune" is also synonymous with the word "song."

  • I heard a good tune on the radio the other day.
  • This is a great tune.
  • They were playing bad tunes at the party, so we left.
  • It’s too quiet in here. Turn on some tunes.

If a person is "in tune" with something, that means he or she understands it.

  • The owner of the company is not in tune with the employees who work for him. (He doesn’t understand them.)
  • Jessica says she feels in tune with her body. (She understand what her body needs.)
  • Young people these days are more in tune with politics and world events than the young people of years past.

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This page was published on April 24, 2017.



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