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Dear Teachers,

1. It's not fair that your daughter's giving you a lot of trouble.Draw the line for her, and let her choose.

- "draw the line for her" means "show her what to do", right?

2. It's not fair that you have to pick up after someone and you're paying for their higher education.

- What does "pick up after someone" mean here?

Thanks very much to Teachers,

Stevenukd.
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StevenukdDear Teachers,

1. It's not fair that your daughter's giving you a lot of trouble.Draw the line for her, and let her choose.

- "draw the line for her" means "show her what to do", right? In a way, yes. It means that one has to set behavioral limits on what one expects from another person or what one will accept.

2. It's not fair that you have to pick up after someone and you're paying for their higher education.

- What does "pick up after someone" mean here? Do things for them that they should be doing - like cleaning their room or doing homework for them.

Thanks very much to Teachers,

Stevenukd.
I'd like to make a stricter interpretation of "pick up after." I agree it means cleaning her room and other household chores, most specifically, when that person leaves her clutter all over and you go around making things neat after her. I do NOT agree that it means doing her homework or other non-household related tasks.
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Grammar Geek I'd like to make a stricter interpretation of "pick up after." I agree it means cleaning her room and other household chores, most specifically, when that person leaves her clutter all over and you go around making things neat after her. I do NOT agree that it means doing her homework or other non-household related tasks.
I agree with GG.
So you wouldn't use sentences like this:

"You've made a mess of your marriage and now you want Mom to go picking up after you"?

And take a look at this:

http://keithdevens.com/weblog/archive/2002/Oct/09/PickUpAfterScientificDogma

And this:

"It's more constructive to say, 'When you bounced several checks, and the bank called, I felt embarrassed and angry' rather than 'You're incredibly irresponsible for bouncing a check, I'm constantly have to pick up after your mistakes and fix everything you screw up,'" he writes.

http://money.cnn.com/2006/03/15/commentary/everyday/sahadi/index.htm

Or this:

I know it's a broken record, but I volunteer at a shelter and..don't get a dog if you have the slightest doubt about whether you'll like owning one or not. We don't enjoy having to pick up after your mistakes. And it's terribly common that people get a dog as a test run, decide to have a child, and dump the dog when it all becomes too much. We really don't like that.

The same goes for children. Please be as certain as humanly possible that you won't screw them up. They deserve better.

http://letters.salon.com/mwt/col/tenn/2006/04/12/maybe_baby/view/index2.html
No, I would never use "pick up after your scientific dogma." That doesn't make any sense to me. Perhaps in the whole context it would make sense - the person's theory had left bits and pieces that had to be tended to, or something, but as a solo sentence it's nonsense.

Pick up after your mistakes is different - a metaphorical use of the "cleaning up your clutter left all over the house." You leave a "mess" (not a pile of toys, but errors from you actions) and I have to clean it up.

In the example first given, it COULD be that the person had made mistakes and expected the mother to fix them, but it's more likely that it's the "maid service" aspect of picking up after. In any case, it certainly doesn't mean doing her homework for her.
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Grammar Geek
No, I would never use "pick up after your scientific dogma." That doesn't make any sense to me. Perhaps in the whole context it would make sense - the person's theory had left bits and pieces that had to be tended to, or something, but as a solo sentence it's nonsense. Did you see the accompanying article?

Pick up after your mistakes is different - a metaphorical use of the "cleaning up your clutter left all over the house." You leave a "mess" (not a pile of toys, but errors from you actions) and I have to clean it up. Yes, it is metaphorical, and you excluded metaphorical use in your original statement. Actually "pick up after someone" to is used in many languages, both literally and metaphorically, to talk about clearning up and putting-in-order any mess that has occured.

In the example first given, it COULD be that the person had made mistakes and expected the mother to fix them, but it's more likely that it's the "maid service" aspect of picking up after. In any case, it certainly doesn't mean doing her homework for her. For you, that is. To me, it could mean that. A student makes a commitment by joining a course of study. That commitment involves doing homework and submitting it on time. If he/she fails to do that, because he/she is lazy or other, a mess is left behind and he/she falls behind in his/her studies. As a result he/she may face the possibility of being kicked off the course etc. In that case, it may be left to someone to pick up after him/her. The picking/cleaning up afterthe student may involve doing his/her homework in order to prevent him/her being booted out of the course. Simple really. Where there's mess, of whatever kind, someone else may be left to pick up after the one who made the mess.

Pick up after does mean to do someone's chores, to tidy up after them. It can be stretched to metaphorically cover other situations.

I don't think it could be realistically stretched as far as doing someone's paid employment/studying/homework.
Pick up after does mean to do someone's chores, to tidy up after them. It can be stretched to metaphorically cover other situations.

I don't think it could be realistically stretched as far as doing someone's paid employment/studying/homework.
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