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At a university:

A: 'Oh no! We had to hand a project in!'

B: 'You could make up an excuse...'

A: 'He won't fall for that, and wait until my dad finds out! He'll be furious!'

B: 'Don't worry, we'll work something out!'

Why did A say "...my dad finds out"? I don't really understand what it means in this context.

2 Answers 2

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Interesting. I had never thought much about this before.

The word find can mean to reveal or discover. It's generally used as a transitive verb:

I think the scientists will find no correlation in the data.

My grandmother found an old purse in her attic.

The explorers walked along the coast, hoping to find a good harbor.

However, the word out can be added when we are talking about discovering a fact, or some information. In my three example sentences, this can easily be applied to the first one, like this:

Is there any correlation in the data? That's what the scientists want to find out.

or:

The scientists want to find out if there is any correlation in the data.

That's why we can say:

My parents found out I came home late last night.

(they discovered the fact). However, we would NOT say:

The explorers hoped to find out a good harbor.

or:

My grandmother found out an old purse in her attic.

Yet we COULD say:

My grandmother found out she had an old purse in her attic.

because that is talking about a fact, not a purse. Similarly:

The explorers found out there was no good harbor on the coastline.

is okay, but when we change this from talking about a fact to talking about a harbor, we say:

The explorers found no good harbor on the coastline.

with no "out" used.

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  • Thank you, they make me sure that how to use find out with your examples.
    – Cryptos An
    Jun 16, 2015 at 11:51
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By find out A means that his dad will discover the truth that A has not given in his project. Another way of saying this is that A is saying that his dad will learn that A has not given in his project.

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  • Does it mean his father will get to know that he hasn't given it in? I'm not clear about discover concept..
    – Cryptos An
    Jun 16, 2015 at 11:42

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