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Thread: Direct

  1. #1
    Allen165 is offline Key Member
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    Default Direct

    "He directed abusive language towards/at/to the police officers."

    That sentence stems from a textbook, and the author used the preposition "to," but I think "towards" and "at" are also correct. Am I right?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    José Manuel Rosón Bravo's Avatar
    José Manuel Rosón Bravo is offline Member
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    Default Re: Direct

    Hi Jasmin165,

    For instance:

    You shout at someone because you are angry with them or when insulting them.

    You shout to someone who is far way because you want them to hear you.

    With other verbs, as for instance, point, there are also different meanings and nuances.

    If we insult someone, we use to or at with the same meaning. And I think that there is a certain nuance in “insult towards”: statements directed to denigrate, devalue or disregards people, organizations, institutions, etc.?

    ¿?

    Someone could bring more light on this question?

    Regards,

    José Manuel Rosón Bravo

  3. #3
    Barb_D's Avatar
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    Default Re: Direct

    Quote Originally Posted by Jasmin165 View Post
    "He directed abusive language towards/at/to the police officers."

    That sentence stems from a textbook, and the author used the preposition "to," but I think "towards" and "at" are also correct. Am I right?

    Thanks.
    I find this idea of "directing abusive language" to be a very odd way of saying "he was verbally abusive."

    However, I agree with you that the other prepositions work with the original.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  4. #4
    Allen165 is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Direct

    Quote Originally Posted by José Manuel Rosón Bravo View Post
    Hi Jasmin165,

    For instance:

    You shout at someone because you are angry with them or when insulting them.

    You shout to someone who is far way because you want them to hear you.

    With other verbs, as for instance, point, there are also different meanings and nuances.

    If we insult someone, we use to or at with the same meaning. And I think that there is a certain nuance in “insult towards”: statements directed to denigrate, devalue or disregards people, organizations, institutions, etc.?

    ¿?

    Someone could bring more light on this question?

    Regards,

    José Manuel Rosón Bravo
    Thanks for replying.

    I doubt there's a difference in meaning between the three prepositions in my example, but we'll see what others have to say.

  5. #5
    Allen165 is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Direct

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    I find this idea of "directing abusive language" to be a very odd way of saying "he was verbally abusive."

    However, I agree with you that the other prepositions work with the original.
    "To direct abusive language" is just a more formal way of saying "he was verbally abusive." I happen to find it more elegant.

  6. #6
    billmcd is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Direct

    Jasmine165: I agree, that is, if describing verbal abuse can be "elegant" --just a little end-of-week humor, very little I suppose.

  7. #7
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Default Re: Direct

    Quote Originally Posted by Jasmin165 View Post
    "To direct abusive language" is just a more formal way of saying "he was verbally abusive." I happen to find it more elegant.
    It could also be mock-elegant - the type of language that (British) police officers are said to use when giving evidence.
    During the course of our endeavours to arrest the prisoner, he proceeded to direct abusive language towards my person and that of the other officers in attendance. =
    While we were trying to arrest him, he swore at us.


    I agree that "towards" is better.

  8. #8
    Barb_D's Avatar
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    Default Re: Direct

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    It could also be mock-elegant - the type of language that (British) police officers are said to use when giving evidence.
    That's so funny that you wrote that. I was picturing a Monty-Python-style interview just along those lines! Perhaps John Cleese could find a way to be in drag somehow.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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