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What do you mean you want me to turn down the aircon?

What do you mean you want me to turn down the aircon?

Posted by Grant Richardson, 18th May, 2015

If you feel cold, you can ask someone to

Please turn down the aircon

because this can mean “Please make the intensity of the aircon lower”. However, this sentence can confuse people — is it the cooling power or fan speed you want me to turn down (to make the room warmer) or the temperature setting you want me to turn down (to make the room cooler)? To avoid confusion, I would say either of the following (depending on what I mean)

Please set the aircon to a higher temperature

or

Please turn down the aircon’s fan speed

or, you can look at the aircon and say

I’m cold

Grammar note The verbs “turn up” and “turn down” are examples of ‘separable’ phrasal verbs, which means you can choose whether to put the object noun or phrase in between “turn” and “up”, or after them. The following examples are all correct

Please turn the TV up Please turn up the TV Let’s turn the aircon in the lobby down Let’s turn down the aircon in the lobby

Important! Any pronoun object (“it”, “him”, “them”, “me”, etc) must always go in the middle of a separable phrasal verb

Please turn it up (correct)

Please turn up it (incorrect)

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