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I think sometimes we use “use” when we have more than the intended action to do with the item we want.

See the comparison below

Example 1

A: I need a place to store these mugs.

B: There should be an old cabinet in the warehouse. If it’s still there, you can put the mugs in it. (The sentence in bold sounds like you are going to put the mugs in the cabinet when it’s still in the warehouse. You have more than put the mugs to do with it. You need to find it, bring it into the room, and put it in the intended place before storing the mugs in it. Therefore, you should say “If it’s still there, you can use it)

Example 2

A: I need a place to store these mugs.

B: There should be a cabinet in the kitchen. If it’s still there, you can put the mugs in it. (It’s okay to say you can put the mugs in it in this case because the cabinet is already in the kitchen and ready for you to use, no other actions needed)

Does my analysis make sense?

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  • Well, yes... but I'm not sure that this is really a language question. A would have to be very 'literal-minded' to think that B was really suggesting storing the mugs in the warehouse. Mar 29 at 9:18

1 Answer 1

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No

The amount of effort you have to make before an action can be performed doesn't matter. You can say "use it" even if you make all the effort of taking the object and bringing it to the other party so they don't have to do anything to start using the object.

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