"change out a window", "paint out a shelf"

Mark A. Mandel mamandel at LDC.UPENN.EDU
Thu Jul 20 14:45:53 UTC 2006

"Cohen, Gerald Leonard" <gcohen at UMR.EDU> wrote:


A house painter today asked me about the addition of "out" to verbs that
don't seem to need it.

"Do you want these windows painted?"
"No, we're gonna change out these windows."
"We're gonna paint out that shelf."

He tells me that he's heard these sentences from contractors and adds "I
find that kinda annoying."

Is this use of "change out" and "paint out" more than a localism?

Gerald Cohen
(in south central Missouri)


I see your point about the shelf. But "change out" looks like it means
'replace". "Change these windows" could be used to describe modifications on
the existing windows, and in other contexts the modification interpretation
would be as salient as the replacement interpretation or more so. That gives
good motivation for adding the particle to "change" 'replace'.

-- Mark A. Mandel
[This text prepared with Dragon NaturallySpeaking.]

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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