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I have a question about when you are asking someone not to move a toaster around.

When you see someone moving a toaster while they are toasting bread and you don't want them to do that because the toaster might break, which phrase should you use?

Please don't move the toaster around while it is turned on.

Please don't move the toaster around while it is on.

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  • Both are correct. More context for why you're asking might get a more satisfying answer.
    – gotube
    Commented Jun 12, 2021 at 5:10

3 Answers 3

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The meaning is the same. "Turned on" is a little more formal than simple "on", so I'd probably use that if I were writing a manual. If I were talking to a person, I'd probably say "when it's on".

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I would probably choose "while it is on" out of these two options.

"While it is turned on" sounds like you mean it is plugged in but not toasting anything at the moment.

"While it is on" could also mean this so to avoid ambiguity I would consider "While it is in use". I think this would be the more common word choice for this situation

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  • I would say both sentences don't specify whether anything is being toasted. (Which makes sense; if there's a danger, it's more likely from moving it while the power is on rather than moving it while something is inside.)
    – aschepler
    Commented Jun 11, 2021 at 21:48
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"Turned on" or "switched on" are both idiomatic ways of saying that something is currently 'on', particularly an electrical appliance. However, it tends to be used mainly for appliances that have an on/off switch and stay on until you switch them off, such as a television or a cooker. It does sound a little odd to hear it said about a toaster, because they don't have an on/off switch - they have a timer. You don't "turn" or "switch" it on, and it automatically cuts its own power after a time.

In British English, the common, idiomatic way of saying that a toaster is 'on' or 'toasting' is to say it is "down" - ie "the toaster is down". This is because most toasters have a lever you push down, it clicks into place and the timer activates it. When it has finished, many people would say "the toaster has popped up", or that "the toaster has finished" meaning the timer has finished its cycle.

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