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  1. #1
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    Default Bolted the stable door shut after the horse has bolted loose

    What seems to be wrong with the sentence in the subject?

    Nowhere does Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms say why "bolt = 'fasten with a bolt' and bolt = 'run' are never used in any variant of the expression". What is the problem with using "bolted" to mean 'fastened with a bolt' and again to mean 'escaped' in a single sentence? Can a sentence however long or short share two instances of the same verb in its different senses (as shown in the subject)?

    Thanks.

    m

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Bolted the stable door shut after the horse has bolted l

    I don't see why you couldn't use the expression in both of its senses in the same sentence. Example: "He bolted the door then he bolted."

    There is a clear difference in usage between the two. There is little chance of getting them confused. One always takes an object; the other never does. One bolts a door or (less often) a gate or a window. OTOH (on the other hand), in the other sense (running away), one simply bolts.

    That should do it. :wink:

    BTW, welcome to the forum. It's good to "see" you here. :)

    8)

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Bolted the stable door shut after the horse has bolted l

    Re:
    "[We have] Bolted the stable door shut after the horse has bolted loose."

    In that sentence, I wouldn't use the second "bolted" (for the reason I stated earlier). Instead, I would say something like: "We bolted the stable door shut after the horse ran away."

    8)

  4. #4
    shane is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Bolted the stable door shut after the horse has bolted l

    I've heard people say:

    "Closing the stable door after the horse has bolted"
    OR
    "Locking the stable door after the horse has bolted"

    Perhaps the sentence had been changed by someone in order to save on any confusion?

    Personally, I think using "closing" instead of the first "bolting" sounds nicer :wink:

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Bolted the stable door shut after the horse has bolted l

    Quote Originally Posted by shane
    I've heard people say:

    "Closing the stable door after the horse has bolted"
    OR
    "Locking the stable door after the horse has bolted"
    It is a rather old expression. It is meant to allude to an activity that is pointless. (Once the horse is gone there is no need to close the stable (or barn) door.)

    Quote Originally Posted by shane
    Perhaps the sentence had been changed by someone in order to save on any confusion?

    Personally, I think using "closing" instead of the first "bolting" sounds nicer :wink:
    I agree.

    8)

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Bolted the stable door shut after the horse has bolted l

    Quote Originally Posted by RonBee
    BTW, welcome to the forum. It's good to "see" you here. :) 8)
    The same here.

    m

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Bolted the stable door shut after the horse has bolted l

    Quote Originally Posted by RonBee
    In that sentence, I wouldn't use the second "bolted" [...]
    8)
    If you wouldn't, I shouldn't. Thanks.

    m

  8. #8
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default

    I've only heard 'closing'.

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