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    Question clamber vs. climb

    Could someone please explain the difference between climb and clamber? I am not clear about them after looking them up in the Cambridge Dictionary as the below definitions say. Thanks!




    climb (MOVE) verb [I usually + adverb or preposition]
    to move into or out of a small space awkwardly or with difficulty or effort:
    They climbed into the truck and drove away.
    We can't stop Tom climbing out of his cot.
    clamber verb [I usually + adverb or preposition]
    to climb up, across or into somewhere with difficulty, using the hands and the feet:
    They clambered over/up the rocks.
    I clambered into/onto the bus.
    She clambered into bed.

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    Default Re: clamber vs. climb

    The essential meaning of 'climb' is to ascend, to move upwards, go up a slope, incline, or staircase.

    With a truck, the driver's cabin is higher off the ground than with a car, hence, you have to 'climb into' a truck.

    For a small child to get out of a cot, he has to climb over the high railings.

    'clamber' combines the meaning of 'climb' with the idea that the climb is awkward, difficult and laborious such that the person typically has to use both hands to hold on to what's available to help drag them up and so assist them in making the ascent, whether up a steep embankment, or out of a trench.

    So - why do we say 'climb into a truck' and 'climb out of a cot', since we would also use our hands to hold on to something and drag ourselves up?

    With 'clamber', we emphasize that the climbing, or climbing out of something, is difficult and awkward -(we can have a pleasant time, climbing/walking up a hill).
    In 'climbing', the body is essential vertical, upright (depending on how steep the slope is)
    When we clamber: firstly, imagine walking/crawling on the floor, using your hands, but with your feet still on the floor, not your knees as in crawling. Then imagine doing this up a steep slope, where the hands are holding on to jutting rocks, or vegetation to helps us, and the feet finding footholds where they can. The trunk of our body may be fairly upright as such (because we are ascending), but close to but not touching what we are climbing because we need to be close, to grab hold of what is available to help lift ourselves up.
    Last edited by David L.; 09-Dec-2008 at 23:35.

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    Default Re: clamber vs. climb

    Hi David L.,

    Thank you very much for taking time to answer this question of mine with illustrations. Now, they are crystal clear. I've noticed you have a nice capacity of pinpointing the subtle difference of synonyms.

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    Default Re: clamber vs. climb

    thedaffodils

    Such a kind expression of appreciation (due for the efforts of all native speakers who contribute voluntarily to this forum) has been so eloquently expressed from your lips.
    Quite a change from some posters who think we are here at their command, just to dish up the goods - and NOW.

    My wish for you is that you will absorb how native speakers here express themselves ( as opposed to some of the English in blogs) and not only pass any entrance exam and acquit yourself well in any job interview conducted in English, but also come to enjoy speaking and playing with the building blocks of words of our language.
    Last edited by David L.; 10-Dec-2008 at 05:37.

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    Default Re: clamber vs. climb

    Hello again, David L.. Thank you for your reply!

    I think almost all responses to my questions deserve a heartfelt "thanks" from my clumsy tongue of English, even if some of them might not be very helpful, because you guys have voluntarily spent your precious time to answer them in efforts to try to help me out.

    Basically, I don't study English for any specific purposes now but for trying to enjoy playing the building block of English words as you wish kindly, and for hoping to learn the way how Westerners think.
    Last edited by thedaffodils; 10-Dec-2008 at 09:52.

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