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  1. #1
    misschip is offline Newbie
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    The meaning or nuance of "ripped my fingernails back"

    [ Did it help in Jerusalem to know that it was a Mercedes that terrified me and sent me diving into a Dumpster? Moreover, after Raziel pulled me out and ripped my fingernails back as I struggled to stay hidden, did it help to know that it was a Boeing 747 that made me cower in a ball trying to rock away my own tears and shut out the noise and fire? ]
    source : http://www.chrismoore.com/books/lamb/excerpt/



    A little bit of background information for your understanding of the above text.
    - Raziel is an angel.
    - The speaker is a man reincarnated about 2000 years after his death.
    - And because he was given the gift of tongues by the angel, he knows the name of all the objects he sees, like Dumpster, Mercedes and Boeing 747.


    'Ripped my fingernails back' means tore my fingernails toward the rear, right?
    But what is the nuance of it?

    Does it mean that the angel ripped the fingernails back 'on purpose' or
    was it 'just an accident' while the angel tried to pull the man out of the Dumpster?

  2. #2
    Grumpy's Avatar
    Grumpy is offline Senior Member
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    Re: The meaning or nuance of "ripped my fingernails back"

    I would assume that the speaker was trying to stop being pulled from the Dumpster by digging his fingers [and fingernails] into some soft material inside it: perhaps one of the seats. As Raziel pulled him out, his fingers would be dragged backwards, and his fingernails would be pulled back if he did not release his grip.
    I'm not a teacher of English, but I have spoken it for (almost) all of my life....

  3. #3
    misschip is offline Newbie
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    Re: The meaning or nuance of "ripped my fingernails back"

    Thanks, Grumpy.

    I'm not a teacher of English, but I have spoken it for (almost) all of my life....

    That is more than is needed to persuade me...especially when it comes to nuance. ;)


    So it was by accident while pulling him out by force and the man resisting.
    Your description of the situation helped a lot.

    Have a good day!

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