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ESL forum > Grammar and Linguistics > Turn on vs. Switch on    

Turn on vs. Switch on


Turn on vs. Switch on
Hello, dear colleagues! I need your brains)) I �m not quite sure about the usage of two phrasals "turn on/off" and "switch on/off". Are they interchangeable? Or are there any peculiarities of their usage? And can we say "switch on the lamp"& or it would be better "switch on the light"? Thanks in advance.

28 Nov 2011      


You can use turn on/off or switch on/off interchangeably for electrical appliances or lights.
For me a lamp is a type of light eg: a desk lamp, a bed lamp, or a standard lamp. They can be called lights, but I wouldn �t call the permanent light in the ceiling a lamp.

28 Nov 2011     


Yep, I was asking about a desk lamp. Thanks for your answer.
It �s just that I heard somewhere that TURN ON is used with turning knobs, like "turn on the gas, turn on the tap"...

28 Nov 2011     

United States

Very strictly speaking, what you heard is right. However, most people don �t make the distinction. I don �t use "switch on", and if I did, it would only be for things that have a switch rather than a knob. I would say "Switch on the light", but never "switch on the stove". It �s not a rule, though, just a practice.

28 Nov 2011