The 21st century is often referred to as the era of "The Great Acceleration". With COVID-19, the acceleration of technological innovation is now spreading in earnest. As the realm of human life is drastically converted into a virtual space due to the acceleration of technological innovation and COVID-19, and non-face-to-face online learning, telecommuting, and remote shopping are becoming commonplace, the importance of computers and the Internet is increasing further. Beyond ordering things from online shopping malls and greeting each other through SNS, we exchange gifts, work, study, and do hobby activities in a virtual space called online. As all areas of life, not just work, now require the use of computers and the Internet, it is no exaggeration to say that we are living in a cyber space. So, it is natural that we have a lot of computer and Internet-related conversations in our daily lives. Even if you are not a computer geek, computer and Internet-related terms and expressions are a real ‘must’ for you to know in the 21 century. How many useful expressions related to the world of computer and the Internet do you already know? In this article, let's learn some by reading explanations on how to use computers and the Internet. We will also look at phrasal verbs you can use to talk about using computers and the Internet. We’re going to deal with some common ones and their meanings.
Working on the Computer
The first phrasal verb we will examine is used to express the first step when starting your computer: ‘plug in’ means being able to be connected to a source of electricity or another piece of an electrical system. It is a separable phrasal verb, so you can plug in a device or you can plug it in. You can say it both ways. Next, ‘get into’ means enter. If you can’t access the system, you can’t get into it. So, before you use your computer you have to ‘hook it up’ – connect it to a power supply. What is the difference between these two phrasal verbs, ‘plug in’ and ‘hook up’? If you use ‘plug in’, it means that you haven’t plugged the power cord of the device into the wall. If you use ‘hook up’, it means that you haven’t plugged a device into other components in the device.
Our next phrasal verb is power up the computer. if you press a switch, the computer begins to work. ‘Power up’ means preparing a machine to work by supplying it with electricity. The opposite is ‘power down’. When you power up (turn on) your computer, it ‘boots up’. It starts working and loads a program so that it’s ready to be used. Sometimes we just say ‘boot’ like “I’m waiting for my computer to boot.” But often we say, ‘boot up’, like “It takes ages to boot up.” The opposite of boot up is ‘shut down’. It means stopping the computer’s operation. You can say, “Sometimes I forget to shut down my computer before I go home.” This means you left your computer running all night. Similarly, if you say, ‘reboot a computer’, it means switching off the computer and starting it again immediately. You can say, “Things work fine until I reboot my computer.”
Connecting to the Internet
A device has to be connected to the Internet before you can access it. If you plan to use the Internet at home, you'll usually need to purchase an Internet connection from an Internet service provider, which will likely be a phone cable company. Other devices usually connect through Wi-Fi or cellular Internet connections. Cellular internet works by using a router or hotspot to connect to a provider's cellular network, just like your cell phone does. You can use the expression, “I am having trouble connecting to the Internet since I switched to your service. When the computer is back on, the connection is lost. So, I have to reset the router every time. I tried replacing the cable and I even bought a brand-new router, but nothing works.” The speed you receive depends on how close you are to a network tower, along with network congestion, how many connected devices you have, and other factors. Nowadays almost all the libraries, cafes, and schools offer free Wi-Fi for their customers and students. If you find it difficult to find a place to connect to the Internet, you can say, “Why is it so hard to find a public Wi-Fi hotspot?”
Once your Internet connection is completed, you can ‘access the Internet’ (or you can say ‘go online’). If you want to connect to a network, you need to ‘sign up for a new account’: ‘sign up’ is a phrase referring to the creation of an online account using an e-mail address or a username and password. After someone has signed up for a service, they can access their account by logging in. Usually we need a password to ‘log in’. You can say log in, log on, or sign into. All are the same. You can say, “I will log into my computer” or “Let me sign into my account first.” So what’s the opposite of logging in? Log off or log out. That’s what you can use when you disconnect from a network.
The next phrase we will look at is ‘put in’ which means to type. Sometimes we say ‘key in’ as well. OK, you’ve got your password. You put it in. Now you’re in the system and you’re surfing the Internet. ‘Surf the Internet’ means looking at information on the Internet by moving from one page to another using electronic links. When you are online looking up information, you can say, “I am browsing the Internet” or “I am surfing the Internet”. If the Internet doesn’t work well or it disconnects, you can say, “The Internet is too slow”, “The Internet got disconnected”, or “The Internet is down.” If you want to copy computer programs, music, or other information electrically using the Internet, you can ‘download’ it from the Internet and ‘store the data’ in your computer. As you know the opposite of download is upload.
Sometimes while you’re browsing the Internet, a message suddenly appears – it pops up. Maybe it’s an advertisement or a warning. Those pop up a lot. So, you can say, “I hate the ads that keep popping up.” But that’s okay, because we can click on the X icon and the pop up will go away. ‘Click on’ means moving your mouse cursor over something and clicking one of the mouse’s buttons. You can say, “You click on the picture to enlarge it” and “You double click on the file to open it.” Another thing you can do with a mouse is drag and drop things. You can say, “You drag and drop the video or files you want to upload.”
There are many more useful expressions we can learn related to computer and the Internet usage, more than we can cover in one article, but let’s finish here for today. For your homework, consider doing your own research and finding additional examples of expressions.