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"pick" vs. "pluck"

Do you plant fruit trees at home? Well, not that it matters in this post. When the fruits are about to ripen, Malaysians would almost always say: “We’re able to pluck the mangoes in a few days.” That’s incorrect.

That’s right. The word that we have been using so often have been wrongly used. It should be: “We’re able to pick the mangoes in a few days.”

What’s the difference then? Both mean “to remove”; however, they’re used in different contexts. There are other meanings as well, but we’ll focus on only one in this post:

  • pluck (v.)* – to pull something with a sudden movement¬†in order to remove it
  • pick (v.) – to remove or separate something small with your fingers

Here are some other examples:

  1. We’re going to the orchard to pick apples.
  2. Don’t pick your nose; it’s impolite.
  3. You cannot use tweezers to pluck feathers.
  4. Thomas plucks his eyebrows to make him look better.

*NOTE:
For teeth, the correct word to use is “extract (pull)”. So, please don’t tell your dentist not to pluck your teeth.