A boy was holding a milk carton which has a little milk. He then shook the carton and some milk came out and fell onto the table.

In the dictionary, they say

shake: [+ object] : to force (something) out of something by shaking

He shook (out) the sand from his sandals.

So, I think I can apply this structure into my sentence "he shook (out) milk (from his carton) onto the table" and I omit adverbs in the brackets.

Is it correct to say "he shook milk onto the table"?

  • I doubt, milk is liquid so clearly you pour it out unless it went sour and why would he do it onto a table? I'd say he pour out the remaining milk or what last drops remained from the carton box into a mug. Commented Sep 3, 2020 at 15:53

3 Answers 3


He shook the carton and splashed milk onto the table.

From Cambridge:

If a liquid splashes or if you splash a liquid, it falls on or hits something or someone:

  • Water was splashing from a hole in the roof.
  • Unfortunately some paint splashed onto the rug.
  • She splashed her face with cold water.
  • She poured a large gin and splashed soda into it from a siphon.

I don't know why no-one suggested "spill", which seems to be the most appropriate choice for the situation.

From cambridge,

spill (v): to (cause to) flow, move, fall, or spread over the edge or outside the limits of something

See "Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk".

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"He then shook the carton and some milk came out and fell onto the table."

We would say "He spilled milk on the table."

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  • +1. Here, the boy accidentally spilt the milk. "Spill" is the best verb to indicate that this was accidental and not a deliberate act.
    – Rosie F
    Commented Jul 8 at 7:18

It’s acceptable.

But if there’s so little milk in the carton that this can happen, it’s more common to say he dribbled the milk onto the table, or he shook a few drops of milk onto the table.

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