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  1. retro's Avatar
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    #1

    attack vs go for

    Is there any difference between attack and go for?

    To me, I may be wrong, go for implies the perpetrator's choice.

    Eg. Susie and her mother having caught him burglarizing, the burglar went for the elder woman. (He chose to attack her mom, not Susie.)

    Susie and her mother having caught the burglar, he went for the elder woman.

    What do you think? Also, do both examples read well?
    Last edited by retro; 29-Jun-2007 at 13:13.

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    #2

    Re: attack vs go for

    Sorry, your sentence is awkward and doesn't read smoothly.

    Try this:

    When Susie and her mother caught him burglarizing, he attacked the older woman.

    Elder is a bit archaic in this context; go with the more idiomatic older. Also, went for can have several meanings, e.g. "He went for coffee," or "I went for a ride." Stick with the simplest word that expresses your exact meaning. If you've already used attack twice in one paragraph, you might then want to say went for to avoid redundancy.

  2. retro's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: attack vs go for

    Quote Originally Posted by mykwyner View Post
    Sorry, your sentence is awkward and doesn't read smoothly.

    Try this:

    When Susie and her mother caught him burglarizing, he attacked the older woman.

    Elder is a bit archaic in this context; go with the more idiomatic older. Also, went for can have several meanings, e.g. "He went for coffee," or "I went for a ride." Stick with the simplest word that expresses your exact meaning. If you've already used attack twice in one paragraph, you might then want to say went for to avoid redundancy.
    Thanks, I understand you. But "go for" doesn't fix the context unless it's already made clear that an attack is involved and even if, IMO, there's no ambiguity because there's little chance of the burglar's going for a drink or being attracted by someone when he is caught?


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    #4

    Re: attack vs go for

    "Attack" is slightly more formal than "go for." But I agree with mykwyner that, since "go for" has so many other meanings, it's best to either use the more precise "attack" or else make it very clear what's happening. "He grabbed his knife and went for the older woman..." would be enough.

    Even the fraction of a second the reader must pause over "go for" to determine that he's attacking the mother (hitting her rather than hitting on her :)) can weaken the impact.

    [native speaker & writer, not a teacher]

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