I encountered the following phrase at the beginning of Chapter 5 in Kato Lomb's book "Polyglot - How I learn languages":

Chapter 5: How to Study Languages

"HOW CAN I learn English, Russian, French, German, Spanish (delete as appropriate)?" I often hear this question.

The meaning of "delete" is to remove something, but I do not quite understand what is supposed to be deleted here. The only "objects" here are the languages listed in the sentence, but this does not seem to make sense to me to delete them. Could you please explain me this phrase?

Any help is very appreciated.


1 Answer 1


I don't think this has a special meaning here. It just means "remove" as usual.

I think she's simply making a joke, indirectly telling you to adjust the list to fit your situation. For example, if you only want to learn English and Spanish, then it is appropriate to delete Russian, French, and German from the list.

She could've also said "increase as appropriate" for particularly ambitious people.

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