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Imagine this. I am talking to someone on a phone and the voice isn't coming out okay so I put my earbuds in.

In this situation, is it correct to say "let me connect to my earbuds"? Or "let me switch to my earbuds"? Or let me put my earbuds in"?

What is the right way to say it?

4 Answers 4

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All three of those are acceptable in English from a technical perspective, and they all sound natural to me. People who are unfamiliar with the concept of connecting external listening devices to mobile phones may be confused, but such folks are probably few and far between in 2022.

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    Connect my earbuds is preferable to connect to my earbuds. One connects to things that are farther away than one's ear. Sep 20, 2022 at 18:25
  • @JohnLawler I'm intrigued. I think Let me connect my earbuds works well because of the implication that I am connecting my earbuds *to my phone*. Let me connect to the wireless network is common. The implied part is in the middle: Let me connect *my device* to the wireless network. Let me connect to my earbuds would expand to Let me connect *my phone* to my earbuds, which seems to have the same meaning as Let me connect my earbuds *to my phone*. If the longer forms mean the same thing, why would one of the shorter forms be preferable to the other? Maybe I should post my own Q...
    – stacknik
    Sep 21, 2022 at 3:48
  • Not necessarily. My interpretation was that you were putting the earbuds in your ear. The electronic connection between bud and phone is automatic and only needs to be done once, when you buy the earbuds. And on that interpretation, connect to was wrong, because it needed the earbud to be large and static and farther away. As I say, that's my interpretation; it may not be everyone's -- or even anyone's. (footnote - can you say "it may not be everyone else's"? I find it rather ungrammatical, and that puzzles me) Sep 21, 2022 at 14:17
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    @JohnLawler It sounds ok to me. COCA gives 150ish hits for "everyone else 's .", which all seem ok to me too. Don't know whether the 'may' and the negation or something is ungrammaticalising it for you .. Sep 21, 2022 at 19:18
  • In the context of earbuds that initial setup is known to myself and many as "pairing" whereas "connecting" refers to the process that happens when you turn the earbuds on, which is a repeated process. My specific earbuds even announce "Connected" once that's done. Not arguing, just elucidating my interpretation. It's neat how the simple inclusion of the word "to" can bring into question the general vs domain-specific usage of "connect" as well as the implied object!
    – stacknik
    Sep 21, 2022 at 20:39
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With that choice of wording 'Is it correct to say "I connected to my earbuds"?' isn't the real Question.

If the voice isn't coming out OK so you put your earbuds in you might 'connect your earbuds' but only in rare, technical circumstances connect to them…

'Let me switch to (my) earbuds' should work.

'Let me put my earbuds in' will work but 'connect (to)/switch to/put in' are hardly comparable.

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Better say, "let me get clearer voice in my earbuds, I am connecting them now".

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In America, you don't "connect to" your earbuds, you "put them on". Although the earbuds go in your ear, I rarely hear people say you "put them in". This may be different in other English speaking countries.

So I would say:

"Hold on, let me put my earbuds on."

Then when you're done, you say:

"I'm listening through my earbuds now. Could you repeat what you said earlier?"

I you want to use "connect", it usually implies digital earbuds, such as Bluetooth earbuds, which DO NEED to be "connected" (paired) to your phone. It's not you who connect "to" your earbuds, but it's your earbuds that connect to your phone!

So if the earbuds require Bluetooth, you would say:

"Hold on, let me connect my Bluetooth [earbuds] [to my phone] first."

or

"Hold on, let me switch to my Bluetooth [earbuds]."

and afterwards,

"I'm now using my Bluetooth [earbuds]."

For Bluetooth earbuds, saying "earbuds" is optional.

For wired earbuds (let's say with the 3.5mm jack), you would say "plug in":

"Hold on, I'm plugging in my earbuds to my phone."

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  • I'm from the UK, I don't think I'd even call these "earbuds" TBH. Earphones for the small ones that fit inside your ear, or Headphones or the larger kind that sit on your head. To put my earphones in/on - both sound natural to me. I have never heard anybody say "let me connect to my earphones", because that would lead me to believe they either have bluetooth built into their brain, or a 5mm jack in the side of their head. Too weird, but funny LOL
    – Billy Kerr
    Jun 19, 2023 at 18:49
  • @BillyKerr Yes, when I was in another country with British English influence, they do say "earphones". At least we share the connotation of "connect to my earphone/earbuds" :-). Maybe after Elon Musk is done with wiring our brains, this may become real ! Jun 19, 2023 at 18:53

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