Hi,

Would you tell me the meaning of "haul out" in the sentence below? A dictionary says, "haul" means to move something heavy or difficult, but I can't imagine such a tape recorder.

On the worst days she'd haul out a tape recorder and show me just how much progress I was failing to make.

Thank you,

M
It can also be used of a ponderous experience with a lighter object. Here, the writer considers it unpleasant ('show me how much progress I was failing to make'), so it is a 'heavy' experience for him, and the machine is 'heavy'.
Hi

This is David Sedaris, 2001, and an exercept is on the web

I think there is a third meaning here: to take a heavy-handed approach to justice

Others will know more than I, since it is a US phrase. I guess it comes from the slightly stereotyped image of the sheriff going into the saloon bar and "hauling out" the wrong-doer

I read the excerpt and enjoyed it - I'm pretty sure this further meaning is also implied

(And if I'm wrong, I'm pretty sure other contributors will haul me out..)

Best regards, Dave
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Hi, Mister Micawber and Dave,

I know this is terrible thing to say but I still don't get its meaning.

dave_anon
I think there is a third meaning here: to take a heavy-handed approach to justice
This was understandable but didn't click for me with the word "a tape recorder."

Will you rephrase the part for me?

Thank you,

M
The inference Dave is making is that "haul out" is meant to mean metaphorically that by retrieving a tape recorder (and thereby revealing the lack of progress the writer has made), "she" is passing judgment on the writer and implicitly criticizing him by her action. Without further context, I'm not sure that the meaning he infers was intended by the author, but who cares? - authorial intent has been dead for a long time.
Hi M

Forgive me if I'm misunderstanding your further question

A tape recorder is a rather old machine that records sound. Compared with what we have today it was quite bulky so, if you were getting it out of a cupboard then you would have to haul it out

Here is an example..

http://www.bodhgayanews.net/recording/recording-01.htm

Do get back if I've misunderstood, Dave
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HI, thanks for your reply.

I know what a tape recorder is, but the definition of "haul out" is still ambiguous to me, because I couldn't understand your example to support your definition.

dave_anon
Others will know more than I, since it is a US phrase. I guess it comes from the slightly stereotyped image of the sheriff going into the saloon bar and "hauling out" the wrong-doer
Honestly, it someteims hard for me to understand a new thing with a new word. (I couldn't figure out what wrong-doer means)

So I supppose the easiest way for me to understand the phrase is, you rephrase the whole sentence without useing "haul out." Would you do it for me?

Thank you and sorry for being persistant.

M
Dear M

Thanks for your message

Part of the problem is that the sentence comes from David Sedaris (no offence to him!). One of his skills is to use idiomatic language, tenses and timing in order to create his narrative

So, my first thought is to say that we can't really take "haul out" out of the sentence because it just is doing what Mr S wanted it to do..

- To carry a heavy piece of equipment

- (As Mr M says:) to carry something in a way that makes it look heavier than it probably is

- To present someone with a heavy-handed form of justice

You say it is ambiguous and that is right: I believe it is intended to make us think of all three meanings

I hesitate to rewrite it, but I suppose I could write..

- On the worst days, she would bring a tape recorder out from a cupboard. She would make it look as if this was a great effort to her: she was reminding me of all the trouble I was causing her. Basically, I was a wrong-doer and she was going to punish me

Not as good as Mr S! - but I believe that is the meaning of the sentence

(Wrong-doer is maybe an old-fashioned phrase now - it just means someone who does things that are wrong)

Do get back to me again if you wish, Dave
Hi,

Thank you for taking your time to reply. Your rewriting worked beautifully and reminded me of how exquisite his writing is. (at least to me.)Emotion: smile

Also, it was great to talk with someone who's read David Sedaris, even over the Internet.

Thank you,

M
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