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I looked it up in the dictionary. It says "to make use of something or use it for a practical purpose."

For example: He wants a job in which he can apply his foreign languages.
The court heard how the driver had failed to apply his brakes in time.
If you apply pressure to a cut it's meant to stop the bleeding.

The same method can be applied to other situations

I am wondering that, since it has the meaning of "use," if it's correct to say apply phonics or tenses in daily conversation?
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Hi,

I am wondering that, since it has the meaning of "use," if it's correct to say apply phonics or tenses in daily conversation?

Are you talking about the teacher or the student using this phrase? It sounds OK for a teacher, not really natural for a student to say this. 'Phonics' relates to reading, so you wouldn't apply it as a method in daily conversation.

It seems to me that you would use, not apply, tenses.

Best wishes, Clive
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But why do apply his brakes and apply pressure work? It's obvious that brakes and pressure are both not methods.
Hi,

But why do apply his brakes and apply pressure work? It's obvious that brakes and pressure are both not methods.

One meaning of 'apply' is 'to operate', so that seems to explain 'apply his brakes'.

'Apply' does have a practical sense to it, eg we can talk about theoretical science and applied science. So, 'apply pressure' seems like a practical thing to do. To some extent, of course, these things are idiomatic.

Best wishes, Clive
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Milky, thanks for help

I already looked it up in the dictionary.

What I don't understand is that you can say "He wants a job in which he can apply his foreign languages," but you can't say apply tenses or phonics rules. I am getting confused here.