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Thread: knock on/at

  1. #1
    Unregistered Guest

    Red face knock on/at

    Hi there!

    What's the correct preposition: Somebody's knocking ON/AT the door?

    Cheers

    Heidi

  2. #2
    José Manuel Rosón Bravo's Avatar
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    Default Re: knock on/at

    Hi Heidi,

    Both.

    Nevertheless, consider the fact that “knock on (or at) a door” is also an expression that means seeking to capture attention, or to join a particular group or sphere of action.

    Regards,

    José Manuel Rosón Bravo

  3. #3
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    Default Re: knock on/at

    Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
    Hi there!

    What's the correct preposition: Somebody's knocking ON/AT the door?

    Cheers

    Heidi
    In the UK, we would say "Someone's knocking on the door". However, after hearing the knock (or the doorbell) you would say "Someone is at the door".

  4. #4
    José Manuel Rosón Bravo's Avatar
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    Default Re: knock on/at

    Hi again,

    If you look up some dictionaries and thesauri, you find “at/on”.

    Thus, this is the definition and first example offered by Encarta Dictionary (by the way, bought in Llandudno – North Wales , UK – in 2000).

    ---------------------------------------------------------

    knock [nok] verb (3rd person present singular knocks, present participle knocking, past knocked, past participle knocked).

    1. intransitive verb hit repeatedly: to strike loudly against something such as a door with the knuckles or an object in order to attract attention.

    • Someone’s knocking at the door.

    ---------------------------------------------------------

    Nevertheles, I agree with you, emsr2d2. In fact, I have never heard “knocking at the door” in this sense , but “knocking on the door”.

    (“knocking on heavens door” for instance).

    Thanks.

    José Manuel Rosón Bravo
    Last edited by José Manuel Rosón Bravo; 24-Apr-2010 at 11:05.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: knock on/at

    Quote Originally Posted by José Manuel Rosón Bravo View Post
    ---------------------------------------------------------

    In fact, I have never heard “knocking at the door”
    Well, I've heard.

    Maybe what makes you think the way you do is that, to say "someone who is at the door knocking on the door " would be quite odd, and thus maybe, this is used interchangeably when the door is knocked on. But someone may be at the door without knocking on the door.

  6. #6
    José Manuel Rosón Bravo's Avatar
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    Default Re: knock on/at

    Clear.

    Perhaps I should have approached the issue in another way.

    Heidi is asking for the right preposition to use with the verb “knock” when describing the action of knocking. If you look for the answer, for instance in the Internet or in the above-mentioned Encarta Dictionary, you find many sentences that include “knocking at the door”, which may be confusing for many people.

    When you strike against a door with your knuckles, you knock “on” the door.

    The preposition “at” refers to the position of the person who knocks, or, in a figurative way, to the desire to join a group or sphere (knocking at the doors of English language, knocking at the doors of philosophy, etc.).

    Thanks.

    José Manuel Rosón Bravo

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