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enter image description here

I have a bath towel but it is not long enough for me to to tie a knot in the towel or let me tuck its edge in the bath towel itself.

For that reason, I need to use a peg to get the towel in a fixed position.

Is it correct to say "I fixed the towel with a peg"?

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  • 19
    In US English we would normally call the thing in the picture a clothespin, not a "peg". Even clothes peg would be understandable, but not just "peg" by itself.
    – stangdon
    Aug 10 at 16:03
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    In my experience of UK and "colonial" English, peg or clothes-peg would be fine. Aug 10 at 16:28
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    I guess it depends on who you are talking to. Without a graphic, I would think you had repaired a torn towel with a small, wooden cylinder. I would have no idea how you did it. I would describe the action as, I clipped the towel together with a clothespin.
    – EllieK
    Aug 10 at 16:38
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    @JamesK "Why would you want to say this?" Because friends make small talk.
    – RonJohn
    Aug 11 at 0:57
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    Before seeing the image, I pictured someone driving a stake (a peg) through a towel into the ground (fixing it in place), perhaps at the beach or the park for a picnic, to stop it from being taken by the wind or something.
    – JoL
    Aug 11 at 5:13
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Two issues:

  1. When "fixed" is used as a verb, the average native speaker is likely to interpret it as "repaired" or "mended" if that is even remotely plausible. Using it to mean "prevented from moving" is likely to cause confusion unless the "repaired" meaning is completely ruled out by the surrounding context, for example in the construction "fix [something] in place." Some alternative words you could use here: secured, fastened, clipped.
  2. The word "peg" is unfamiliar to me in this meaning (as an American). I would call this object a "clothespin" (pronounced "clothes pin"). However, this usage may be acceptable in other dialects.
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    "Clothes peg" is standard in British English, and a "clothes pin" would probably be interpreted as a dressmaking pin or a safety pin, not as the thing in the picture. In BrE a "peg" is something like a tent peg, as in the idiomatic phrase "a square peg in a round hole" meaning something non-functional or inappropriate.
    – alephzero
    Aug 11 at 2:34
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    @alephzero I definitely remember calling those thingies just "pegs" in England.
    – Vladimir F
    Aug 11 at 7:23
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    @alephzero I would definitely call that a peg. Given the context of the situation, clarifying what kind of peg is rarely required. I would be very confused if somebody had secured their clothes with a tent peg. I would be equally perplexed if somebody had tied down a tent with a clothes peg. :)
    – Llama
    Aug 11 at 10:14
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    As a Canadian/American (about 30 years in each place, Canada first), either clothes pin or clothes peg would work. "Peg" alone does not work. As others have pointed out, when I read "fixed", I was thinking "repaired", not "fixed in place". "I fixed the towel with a peg" made me think it had something to do with putting a "peg" (say a short piece of dowel) into something like a wall and using it to hang the towels up
    – Flydog57
    Aug 11 at 14:20
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    US native here - never heard that called a peg. I might understand it if it was called clothes peg, but it would be weird. They're always called clothespins from my experience.
    – Cullub
    Aug 11 at 16:28
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British English: "fixed" and "peg" each have multiple meanings and you would probably be misunderstood.

I suggest "I fastened the towel [around me] with a clothes peg.

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    This is the only answer that suggests an acceptable solution.
    – TonyK
    Aug 11 at 23:31
  • @TonyK DJClayworth's answer includes the same suggestion of 'fasten' Aug 12 at 17:09
  • @PeteKirkham: but not as a complete sentence. And only as a secondary suggestion.
    – TonyK
    Aug 12 at 18:07
  • 'fastened' --> i'm a monolinguist but fastened isn't the 1st word that comes to mind. as of right now, it sounds like the best word
    – BCLC
    Aug 13 at 4:03
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Yes it's correct.

The definition of "fix" includes to secure in place which is what you are doing. You are using a peg to accomplish that so "with a peg" is correct.

US English calls this peg a "clothes pin". In UK English "peg" is correct. The word "fix" can also mean to repair, so you could increase understanding by using a word that doesn't have such a synonym, such as "secure" or "fasten".

But yes, the sentence is completely correct and means what you want, although it could also mean other things.

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    Native AmE speaker. While there's nothing incorrect about that sentence, I would absolutely not interpret it to mean what OP intended.
    – Kevin
    Aug 11 at 14:46
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    It may be that affix is clearer than fix for the sense of fastening something.
    – tchrist
    Aug 11 at 16:28
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    @tchrist 'affix' is transitive. You can only affix to something. Aug 11 at 16:41
  • Transitive means it has an object complement, as in It is now talked of for the 24th, but it is impossible yet to affix a time. You're talking about an extra argument as with ditransitive verbs or even ones like put that also need a locative expression of some sort. You're right that there are a lot of those, although sometimes on or even with occurs, not just to. However, this is an intransitive use as there is no object: It affixes to the inside wall of the freezer..with a suction cup that actually keeps it attached.
    – tchrist
    Aug 11 at 18:21
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    I am also an AmE speaker. Until I saw the picture I understood the sentence to mean that the towel was pinned to the wall or some immovable (fixed) object. I'm not sure that a towel fastened to itself and draped over a person as a garment is fixed in place.
    – David42
    Aug 12 at 18:28
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The phrase to fix [X] with [Y] without context will mean to repair something with something,
e.g. “I fixed the bike with superglue”.

It's uncommon to hear someone fix a towel, a pair of pants, tie, shirt, etc. in place.

In the rare instance that someone needs to describe the solution for a towel that is not large enough to wrap around a torso, one could say it was pinned in place with [a clothes peg] / I used [a clothes peg] to hold it up or it was tied with [something], e.g. a bathrobe belt.

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  • Pretty well every time you use a peg or pin to fix something, it means fix in place, not repair - google.com/… Aug 11 at 23:52
  • @PeteKirkham none of those examples include a clothes peg though... they're referring to pegs that are similar to dowels
    – Mari-Lou A
    Aug 12 at 0:02
  • The same applies if you search for 'clothes peg' and 'fixed', though most of the answers are not the peg doing the fixing and the phrasing is more variable, you have to get to the bottom of page four before the first case of 'fix' meaning 'repair' Aug 12 at 0:19
  • Pete - as a native UK English speaker my immediate interpretation is "He repaired the towel with a peg of some kind" (how the heck do you even do that?!). As for your comment, if the sentence was that he fixed the tent's guyline with a peg, or fixed the flapping object moving in the wind with a oeg, then yes. Fix a towel with * anything *, my mind goes direct to repair, not fix in place, and that just is not English my head can digest, even if technically valid. Sorry
    – Stilez
    Aug 12 at 1:18
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    @PeteKirkham You can temporarily repair something with a clothes peg.
    – user253751
    Aug 12 at 8:53
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A search in Google Ngram for "* it with a peg" only yields one result.

fasten it with a peg

As an American, I was confused by the word "peg". The cylindrical thing I call a "peg" is not used to "fasten" things and wouldn't hold your towel in place. However, if my South African wife told me "I fastened the towel with a peg" I might have figured out from the context that "peg" = "clothespin".

To be clear, "fixed" is not the right verb. In most of the world, "peg" is the right noun. I don't think you were asking about the noun though. It's just a coincidence that we Americans have a different word for it.

To answer your question, you should say "I fastened the towel with a peg."

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In Australian English a peg would be used to attach or affix clothes to a clothesline to hang out to dry. So to say you fixed the towel means you stuck it in place or attached it. It makes perfect sense to me.

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What your saying is not wrong, but as you can see from all the differing comments, it's not unambiguous, given the multiple meanings of 'fix', 'peg' and 'pin'. Whilst assumptions can be made from context, your particular scenario doesn't really lend itself to clear assumptions. To be unambiguous, I think you should say, I fastened the towel with a clothespeg/clothespin. Collectively, items such as buckles, buttons, pins, etc.. are known as fasteners, so fasten would be the best verb to use.

The only thing I would say might be wrong with using the verb 'fix', is that it suggests a degree of permanence. To me, that is the difference between fixings and fasteners. You can unfasten, but you can't unfix. Fixed means unmovable. I assume at some point you would want to remove the towel, and you wouldn't ever say, I unfixed the towel.

Without the image you provided, I would have imaging you holding a towel in pace with something similar to a tent peg. A clothes peg isn't really a peg or a pin. Pegs and pins using piercing to hold things in place. A clothes peg is really a clamp. But if a jellyfish is not really a fish, it doesn't really matter.

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There are a lot of answers already, but maybe it's worth a simple summary:

Outside the US:

I fastened the towel with a peg.

or

I fastened the towel with a clothespeg.

In the US:

I fastened the towel with a clothespin.

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To me (Australian English), I would never understand what you meant by "fixed" in this context. Unless you added extra clarifying words like "fixed in place", I'd assume you meant "repaired", and get confused.

Me, I would say: "I used a peg to hold my towel in place", or maybe "I pegged my towel."

(I wouldn't understand the word "clothespin". I suspect I've seen it before, never realised it meant a peg!)

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