The lost car keys. Picture by fallsroad/flickr.
Alexandre Monteiro has sent me an e-mail asking about the difference between the words seek, find and look. I hope that this podcast will help him, and other people.
I guess you know the English verb to lose. The past tense is lost. If you lose your pen, you do not know where you left it or where you put it. The pen is lost.
When you lose something, probably you want to find it again. So you look for it, or you search for it, or you hunt for it. We also have a verb to seek which has a similar meaning to search. But we generally use seek when we are talking about abstract things. We can say, for example, I am seeking happiness. But we probably would not say I am seeking my car keys.
And that brings us to our story today, which is about Joanne, and she has lost her car keys.
Joanne is looking after her nephew Nick, who is two and a half years old. They have a happy afternoon together in the park. Then they come home and draw some pictures. Then Nick helps Joanne to make some biscuits. Nick eats most of the biscuits, until Joanne says, No more, Nick. Your Mum will be cross if you eat too many biscuits and then cant eat your tea. Then Nick watches a video, and then it is time for him to go home. Joanne helps Nick to put on his shoes and coat. She looks in her handbag for her car keys.
The keys are not there. They are not in the pockets of her jacket, either. Where can I have put them? she says. She looks for the keys in the kitchen. Perhaps she left them on the kitchen table when they were making biscuits. But the keys are not there.
She searches for the keys in the sitting room. Perhaps they have fallen down the back of the sofa. But the keys are not there.
She hunts for the keys in the bedroom. Perhaps she put them down on the dressing-table. But the keys are not there.
Have you seen my car keys, Nick? says Joanne.
Down the toilet, says Nick.
What? says Joanne. Nick, did you put the keys down the toilet?
Dont know, says Nick, helpfully. Can I have another biscuit?
Joanne rushes to the bathroom and looks into the toilet. No keys.
By this time, Joanne is getting desperate. She told her sister that Nick would be home at 5.30. It is now 5.45. The door opens. Kevin comes in. He is in a good mood. He has been to a football match, where his team won 2-0. And he is carrying Joannes car keys.
Where did you find them? asks Joanne.
You left them in the car ignition, says Kevin. You are lucky that no-one drove your car away. Oh, I smell biscuits. Can I have one?