I've been reading a text from the book 1100 words you need to know.

Week 6 Day 1. The text is about an invention - an umbrella substitute. In this text, there is a passage where the word "open" is used but I don't understand its meaning. Is it a noun? Is it a verb? Or is it an idiom?

When a person is caught in a sudden rainstorm, he swings the plastic strip open in a shape of a cross

The person already "swings" and what "open" is doing here?

Online source (The original book says the same)


2 Answers 2


The word "open" here is NOT a verb. "To swing something open" is a verb phrase. In your case. it means he swings the plastic strip in a way that it makes the plastic strip open. To swing is the main verb, and open is the state the plastic strip is in after the action of swinging it.

  • 8
    Yes, just like you can kick a door open or I guess kick it closed. Commented Oct 11, 2019 at 13:50
  • 5
    So, open is an adjective in that phrase.
    – Jeffrey
    Commented Oct 11, 2019 at 15:20
  • 1
    Yes. You can think of it as the state the object is in after the action (the verb). Commented Oct 12, 2019 at 5:48
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    I would say that in this usage, "to swing [something] open" is a phrasal verb: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phrasal_verb Commented Oct 12, 2019 at 19:19
  • Thank you, Glenn. I know what a phrasal verb is. Actually, I've got a book on Phrasal Verbs i.postimg.cc/BnhDK1t1/IMG-8976.jpg The problem is that I didn't find it on this book. Then googled but still was not sure about it. That's why I opened this thread Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 4:04

The word "open" should be "into the open position". Similarly, we'd return an umbrella to the closed position when the rain stops.

I'd say this is mostly an idiomatic usage.

  • 3
    It certainly means “into the open position”. But this usage is completely standard, so I don’t think it’s right to suggest that it “should be” anything other than what it is.
    – PLL
    Commented Oct 12, 2019 at 12:47
  • So, basically, it means "to make sth open", right? Commented Oct 12, 2019 at 14:45

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