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  1. #1
    vil is offline VIP Member
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    Default She caught at my arm. She caught my arm.

    Dear teachers,

    Would you explain me the difference between the following two sentences?

    She caught at my arm.

    She caught my arm.

    Or

    He snatched at the paper but it had already caught fire.

    He snatched the paper.

    Thank you in advance for your efforts.

    Regards.

    V.

  2. #2
    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
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    Default Re: She caught at my arm. She caught my arm.

    To snatch at something means that you reach for it abruptly, but probably do not actually touch or hold it.

    To snatch something means you reach and take something abruptly.

    If the phrase "she caught at my arm" comes from "Major Barbara", then it indicates that she is sharply reaching to hold "my" arm, but did not actually do it.

  3. #3
    vil is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: She caught at my arm. She caught my arm.

    Hi Anglika,

    Thank you for your reply. It hits the bull’s eye. To my great dissatisfaction I am unsatisfied yet. I couldn’t understand the following two rules:

    1) If preposition “at” follows an intransitive verb it shows direction (and action is successful)

    The poodle jumped at the beetle then smelt it.
    He aimed at the bird. (and have hit it)

    2) When the preposition “at” follows transitive verbs it also shows direction, but the action denoted by the verb is generally unsuccessful.

    He snatched at the paper but it had already caught fire.

    He made an abortive attempt to grasp the paper but it had already caught fire.

    Have you anything else to tell me?

    Regards.

    V.

  4. #4
    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
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    Default Re: She caught at my arm. She caught my arm.

    "at" in all of these is "towards, in the direction of".

    Whether the action is successful or not is not related to the use of "at", but in the collocations and contexts.

  5. #5
    vil is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: She caught at my arm. She caught my arm.

    Hi Anglika,

    Thank you again.

    Finally, owing to you, I may heave a sign of relief.

    Regards.

    V.

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