inseparable phrasal verb: monkey around with

I have a fun phrasal verb for you today. It’s to “monkey around with” something. We use it when we want to talk about a person who tries to fix a machine that is broken without giving it a serious effort. For example:

A: My computer isn’t working properly.

B: Ok. I’ll monkey around with it later and see if I can find the problem.

If you want me to, I’ll monkey around with your car and try to fix it. I’m pretty good with cars.

My printer was wasn’t working so I started monkeying around with it, and I actually got it working again! I was so impressed with myself!

This expression is quite casual, so we only use it in conversations with friends or people we are close to. When we use “monkey around with”, it means that the person doesn’t give it a serious effort because they are not an expert at fixing things. Therefore, professional repair people would never use this expression because they are trained to fix things. It’s only people who don’t really know how to fix things who would say “monkey around with”.


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