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    #11

    Re: knock on/at the door?

    Quote Originally Posted by momule View Post
    Just for the sake of fun, do we ring a bell or do we strike it in some fashion in order to make it ring?
    I 'ring the bell', or just 'ring'.

    "I've rung, but nobody's answering. Strange. He said he'd be home."

  2. Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    #12

    Re: knock on/at the door?

    Quote Originally Posted by opa6x57 View Post
    Sir Paul McCartney said, "Someone's knocking AT the door."
    Would the song have sold as many copies, if the lyric was, "Someone's knocking ON the door."?

    It did't stop Knocking on Heaven's door selling plenty of copies, but would that have done so well if Mr Dylan had used at?.

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    #13

    not a teacher

    If the subject is doing the knocking, it's knock ON the door. "I knocked ON the door" not "I knocked AT the door."

    If the subject is hearing a noise, it depends. "I heard a knock at the door." "I heard a knock on the door." No difference, really.

    If you specify in your sentence that you heard another person performing the action, it's ON again. "I heard someone knocking ON the door" not "I heard someone knocking AT the door."

  4. 5jj's Avatar
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    #14

    Re: not a teacher

    Quote Originally Posted by Vidor View Post
    If the subject is doing the knocking, it's knock ON the door. "I knocked ON the door" not "I knocked AT the door."
    That may very well be true when you are the speaker. That does not mean that it has to be so when others speak, as we have seen in this thread.

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    #15

    Re: not a teacher

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    That may very well be true when you are the speaker. That does not mean that it has to be so when others speak, as we have seen in this thread.
    You wouldn't say "He knocked AT the door" either.

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    #16

    Re: not a teacher

    Quote Originally Posted by Vidor View Post
    You wouldn't say "He knocked AT the door" either.
    And why not, may I ask?

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    #17

    Re: not a teacher

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    And why not, may I ask?
    Because you wouldn't. Who knows why?

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    #18

    Re: not a teacher

    Quote Originally Posted by Vidor View Post
    Because you wouldn't. Who knows why?
    I disagree. Not only would it be proper to say, "He knocked at the door." I have used that in everyday speech. I've heard others use it in everyday speech. (AmE!)

    This statement answers the question, "Where was he when he knocked?" It does not answer the question, "What was he knocking on?"

    However, in my opinion, this is a distinction without a real difference.

    The fact communicated in either case (He knocked at/on the door.) is that "HE" wanted to attract the attention of those inside - by knocking.
    He was AT the door - knocking ON something (maybe the door, maybe the door-frame) to do that.


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    Not a teacher, 53-year-old American.
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    … and that’s my opinion

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    #19

    Re: not a teacher

    Quote Originally Posted by Vidor View Post
    Because you wouldn't. Who knows why?
    But I would!

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    #20

    Re: knock on/at the door?

    I'm not a native speaker but in my opinion, "knock AT the door" implies the location of the person doing the knocking. In this case, it is somewhere close to the door or "at the door".

    Therefore, I tend to think "he knocks at the door" as equivalent to "he stands in front of the door and he knocks"

    As for "knock on the door", to me, it has a literal meaning of knocking the hand against the door. This phrase only describes the action of knocking. In common sense, it should therefore imply the location of the person albeit indirectly.
    Last edited by RobertT; 18-Jan-2011 at 06:39.

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