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pick over / pick out Options
Mnemon
Posted: Monday, February 22, 2021 4:26:54 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 10/27/2019
Posts: 102
Neurons: 666
Location: Enschede, Overijssel, Netherlands
Hello,

A. She picked out the strawberries, selecting the largest ones.
B. She picked over the strawberries, selecting the largest ones.

I'm interested to know the differences between the two. Could someone elaborate? Which one are you more likely to say?

Thank you.
thar
Posted: Monday, February 22, 2021 4:55:53 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/8/2010
Posts: 24,143
Neurons: 97,814
To pick out is to extract, to select

to pick over is to examine, to see what is worth extracting.

so it can be similar
she picked out the best strawberries and left the mouldy ones

she picked over the strawberries and took the ripe ones


but you can pick over something without picking anything out:
she picked over the strawberries but didn't see any she wanted.

A. She picked out the strawberries, selecting the largest ones.
THis means that she extracted the strawberries she wanted.
Her criteria for selection was to choose the largest ones

B. She picked over the strawberries, selecting the largest ones.
THis means she examined the strawberries, and picked out (extracted) the largest ones.

since in A you have to examine them to select the ones you want, and in B the criteria is size, the outcome is similar.
But A is a completed action (she picked out the strawberries = she now has the strawberries she wants) whereas B is the prior step (she picked over the strawberries = she examined them, but at this point it is not stated whether or not she selected any, or just left them all).

You pick over rubble, debris, or rubbish, trying to find something useful or valuable.

You pick out something, select it.

At the two extremes:

pick over
-examine a mass of stuff to find something of use or value

Quote:
An Economist (29th May 1993) survey of solid
waste began with the following observation:

"When archaeologists want to discover how
primitive people lived, they delve into pre-historic rubbish heaps. What will they make of the
tips from the late 20th century? They will certainly have plenty to pick over. As people buy more objects, they throw more away. And as they use more plastic, chemicals and metals, so what they discard becomes increasingly durable and potentially poisonous."

While this may be the case for the North where as
yet multitudes of people do not sustain themselves
from what others discard, it is not true for many
Third World cities. Future archaeologists delving into the final disposal sites of Faisalabad or
Bangalore would find very little to pick over, not
because of consumption deficit but because of their
having been thoroughly picked over already

source Thoughts on Poverty from a South Asian Rubbish Dump ...

pick out - select and extract the thing you want
Quote:
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Mnemon
Posted: Monday, February 22, 2021 5:02:04 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 10/27/2019
Posts: 102
Neurons: 666
Location: Enschede, Overijssel, Netherlands
Great, many thanks.
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