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Is this sentence grammatically correct?

He picked up a quarrel.

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Sounds like "India-speak" ... – GEdgar Sep 26 '12 at 18:56

He picked up a quarrel.

Is it syntactically correct? Yes, of course.

Is it semantically correct? Less clear. Was he a crossbowman who’s spilt his quarrels on the ground? Or was he a short-wave operator trying to tune in a distant channel of people bickering?

In either of those cases, sure. But if we’re talking about somebody being quarrelsome and starting one up, then no. One starts quarrels; one does not pick them up.

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+1 for the short-wave radio operator example :D – LordScree Sep 26 '12 at 21:04

If you mean that he's about to shoot a stubby arrow from a crossbow, then yes. If you mean that he tried to start a fight, the idiom is, "He picked a fight".

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Unless the two quarrelers had to take a break for some reason. In that case, when the argument resumed, the quarrel could be picked up where it was left off. – J.R. Sep 26 '12 at 23:08

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