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  1. charliedeut's Avatar
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    #1

    bells ring-chime-toll?

    Hi,

    I've been checking on the meanings of those three verbs applied to bells sounding. Would native speakers apply them to different sizes of bells, or just use each one depending on the occasion? Or maybe a combination of both?

    The thing is: I can understand that, at a school, for instance, a bell rings to mark the beginning/end of classes.
    I can understand that, as MacMillan dictionary says, the bells in clock (like Big Ben, for instance) chime at specific times.
    And then comes the case of toll: MacMillan says it's applied to large bells.

    Now, in daily usage, is the difference so clear, or are there shades of grey? It's these I'm asking about.

    Thank you.

    charliedeut
    Last edited by charliedeut; 08-Aug-2012 at 15:03. Reason: Misspelled the dictionary's name :-( (+blush)
    Please be aware that I'm neither a native English speaker nor a teacher.

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    #2

    Re: bells ring-chime-toll?

    'Toll' is used for the sombre, uniformly-spaced, sounding of a single church bell to accompany a funeral procession.

    Rover

  2. BobK's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: bells ring-chime-toll?

    There are shades of grey. Broadly, 'chiming' has musical overtones, 'ringing' can sound rather mechanical - a burglar alarm would ring but not chime. A big bell tolls/can be tolled ('toll' can be both transitive and intransitive - 'Who''ll toll the bell?' [trad poem: The Death of Cock Robin] is trans., but John Donne's 'Ask not for whom the bell tolls...') but a handbell can't. On the other hand Big Ben (which is a bell, not a tower) can't 'ting'! But where you draw the lines is variable.

    b
    PS Now I think of it, 'toll' can often imply death; it evokes a funereal feeling, I think [which I see Rover has already said ]

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