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Hi,

If you have a class and you are giving out blank sheets of paper for the students to write on, you would say this.

"I am passing out some sheets of paper" and would not say, "I am passing out some paper" because "paper" normally referrs to things that have some kind of writing. Right?

Then, if you are passing some thick blank sheets of paper for the students to draw or construct some paper materials, how would you tell them?

"I am giving out some thick blank art sheets for you to use" ???
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I'm passing out some paper. I'm passing out paper.
I'm passing out some construction paper. I'm passing out construction paper.

CJ
Is "passing out" AmE? I'd have said "handing out".
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The action described by your sentence above is what is called "performative", which means that the saying of the action is the doing of it. Examples, "I promise you", "I'm warning you". So, verbs like "passing/handing/sending (round, out)" are OK in such situations. I feel there is no need to describe the paper itself, as students can see it as it is coming round.

Use expressions such as:

I'm passing round sheets of paper on which you can write...

I'm passing round sheets of paper which you can use to construct your...

Or, don't describe passing round action, as it's obvious:

As you pass the sheets around, you could say "You can these sheets (of paper) use to construct your/write your ... (on)..." or "You can this use paper construct your..., etc."
J LewisIs "passing out" AmE? I'd have said "handing out".
Good point.

Both in Spears, American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs, and on the net, I find only this meaning:

phrasal verb
pass out

To suffer temporary lack of consciousness: black out , faint , keel over , swoon . See awareness
Marius HancuGood point.

Both in Spears, American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs, and on the net, I find only this meaning:

phrasal verb
pass out

To suffer temporary lack of consciousness: black out , faint , keel over , swoon . See awareness

You need wider reference. AE is not the only form of English, Marcus. Emotion: stick out tongue

pass out sth or pass sth out

to give something to each person in a group of people
Could you pass those books out?

http://dictionary.cambridge.org/define.asp?key=pass.out*2+0&dict=P

And, in BE and AusE:

(British & Australian) to successfully finish a training course at a police or military college
He was posted to Northern Ireland a month after he passed out.

passing-out British & Australian
adjective
The end of their six-month training course was marked by a passing-out parade.

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Milky
Marius HancuGood point.

Both in Spears, American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs, and on the net, I find only this meaning:

phrasal verb
pass out

To suffer temporary lack of consciousness: black out , faint , keel over , swoon . See awareness

You need wider reference. AE is not the only form of English, Marcus. Emotion: stick out tongue

And I thought J. Lewis had it covered for BrE.

It's Marius.

And I thought J. Lewis had it covered for BrE.

But Cambridge is right. Did't look into it.

Beause a question was asked specifically about American usage, I can confirm that we say either "handing out" or "passing out" materials.

If I give a stack to the first person, who takes one and passes along the rest, I'd use "passing out." "Handing out" has a sense of my giving the material directly to you - although you could also say "passing out" for that use too.

I can also say that the use of passing out meaning graduated from is not one that I've heard.
Sorry, Marius, of course. Had a baby in one arm when I was typing.
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