put away / put back

Hello!
I would like to know which phrasal verb could we use in this gap: ‘When you have finished playing with your toys, put them …in the cupboard.’ Of course I chose the phrasal verb: ‘put away’ but someone opted for ‘put back’ and I couldn’t give an explanation. Could both of them be suitable?
Thank you for your time and help!

‘Put back’ suggests return something to where it was originally - When you have finished reading that book, please put it back in the bookshelf. ‘Put away’ suggests discard or put something out of sight - Please put the toys away before our guests arrive. This expression can be found in Corinthians in the King James translation referring to the transition from childhood to adulthood - Now I am become a man, I have put away childish things.

Thank you, Alan, so in the context presented by me ‘put away’ is the correct option?

Yes, I have just added a bit more.

A

What if the toys where originally in the cupboard. Couldn’t you say ‘please put them back in the cupboard’ then?[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEIC short conversations: Personal assistant discusses scheduling for upcoming project meeting.[YSaerTTEW443543]

Yes, Torsten, you could. I believe Alan covered this in his explanation in message #2, even though he stopped short of explicitly stating that.

So both options are correct, right?[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEIC short conversations: Two concert agency employees discuss tasks to be done for upcoming show.[YSaerTTEW443543]

Thank you for all your attention! So, both options are correct, aren’t they?

Just to recap, Torsten – ‘back’ is to where it was and ‘away’ is to where it can’t be seen. So naturally both are acceptable in Anotella’s sentence.

So, if it’s a supposed to be a test, the sentence is badly constructed.[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEIC short conversations: A couple are discussing how to buy movie tickets more quickly.[YSaerTTEW443543]

Strangely, I was originally regarding it as a no-brainer, ‘put back’ sounding to me as the option you were prompted at by the context (when you’ve finished with it, put it where it previously belonged).
Still the two dictionary entries seem to’ve muddled the waters a bit: ‘put away’-- “to put something in the place where it is normally stored or kept ready for use” bing.com/search?srch=106&FOR … way+define ;
“to return (sth) to the correct or proper place—to put away the books” thefreedictionary

Now it seems that both phrasal verbs could mean the same and whichever you go for in the original doesn’t change its meaning. (?)

Once again Eugene, you seem to have been beguiled by the Internet. There is nothing really quite like tapping into the real world.

Quite possible. Still ‘the Internet‘ does exist now as a part of “the real world”, doesn’t it?, and everything presented there has been written by none other than living creatures. If you don’t trust their opinions, you’re entitled to have your own and can prove them wrong.
Were it something concerning my native tongue, I wouldn’t discard others’ views but say: I disagree with it here and there because of this and that.

Not quite the same meaning, though the difference is small, and you are right that in the original there is likely to be no difference.

‘Put back’ is returning to where they were before.
‘Put away’ is returning to where they are normally kept.

  • so it is possible to use ‘put away’ instead of ‘put back’, but it is not always possible to use ‘put back’ in place of ‘put away’.

As an example, consider:
Please put the books back on the table when you’ve finished with them, don’t put them away on the bookshelf, as I want to look at them later.

Putting aside the poor style of writing by repeating the same word in close succession, it is possible to say:
Please put the books back on the table when you’ve finished with them, don’t put them back on the bookshelf, as I want to look at them later.
However, it is not possible to say:
Please put the books away on the table when you’ve finished with them, don’t put them away/back on the bookshelf, as I want to look at them later.

To me, the words ‘your toys’ suggest that it is a domestic or kindergarten environment where it is natural for the elders or teachers to expect the kids to ‘put the toys back’ in the cupboard. Further, children ought to know it is not a good habit to strew their toys here and there. In that case the sentence is intelligently constructed.

Thank you Bev, for your examples.
The first looks perfectly clear: return them to where you took them from, not where they are normally kept.
The second is a bit trickier: return them to where you took them from, not where you’re (possibly) going to place them. (right?)
Third is the trickiest: return them to where they are normally kept\the proper place, not where you took them from.
Why is it impossible? To me you could easier “look at them later” when they are placed on the table…
(Sorry to’ve pestered you with it on a Monday morning.)

Ah, you may have meant the last example was incorrect because it’s ‘prescribed’ to keep books on the bookshelf…


“The most subversive people are those who ask questions.”

First - yes
Second - return then to where you took them, from, not to where they are usually kept.
Third - I suspect you now understand, though the way you’ve explained it using ‘prescribed’ seems a little off. In this scenario I’ve imagined the place the books are usually kept is on a bookshelf (I wouldn’t say it was ‘prescribed’ that books are kept on a bookshelf). Putting them away would involve putting them on the bookshelf in this case.
If the books were normally kept anywhere other than on that table, then:
Please put the books away on the table when you’ve finished with them…
would always be wrong.