Results 1 to 7 of 7
  1. beachboy's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Portuguese
      • Home Country:
      • Brazil
      • Current Location:
      • Brazil

    • Join Date: Jan 2008
    • Posts: 844
    #1

    scrape x scratch

    What´s the main difference between the two words above? Can they ever be synonyms?

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • Canada

    • Join Date: Oct 2008
    • Posts: 1,211
    #2

    Re: scrape x scratch

    They are most often synonyms.

    The idioms "scraping by" (barely surviving) and "in a scrape" (in a predicament, trouble) cannot substitute "scratch" however.

    The idioms "up to scratch" (adequate) "from scratch" (using original ingredients rather than a prepared mix) cannot substitute "scrape" however.
    Similarly, "scratch paper" (extra paper for quick notes) is unique.

  2. BobK's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK

    • Join Date: Jul 2006
    • Posts: 16,038
    #3

    Re: scrape x scratch

    ...but they belong in different collocations. You scrape a new potato (rather than peeling the skin off with a knife or a peeler) but scratch the inside of a coffin-lid (disturbing image - I'm not sure what dark part of my psyche that came from ) You scratch a table-top. A scratch tends to be more linear (narrow, one-track) - it's what you do to your arms when you're picking blackberries; you scrape your knee when you fall over [or graze it, if the damage is more slight]. Given the different shapes of the wounds (scratch long and thin, scrape wider) you can do either to, say, a car. But if you scrape a car there's a chance you can rub away the worst of the damage; whereas if you scratch a car - "Sorry guv', the whole wing'll need repainting".

    At least, that's the way it seems to me from this side of the pond.

    b

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • Canada

    • Join Date: Oct 2008
    • Posts: 1,211
    #4

    Re: scrape x scratch

    I'll buy that, David. A scrape seems to leave a broader, wider mark than a scratch. Good points, all.

  3. beachboy's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Portuguese
      • Home Country:
      • Brazil
      • Current Location:
      • Brazil

    • Join Date: Jan 2008
    • Posts: 844
    #5

    Re: scrape x scratch

    As for scraping by, if somebody asks me how I´ve been doing, could I say Scraping by just for fun, even if everything is ok? Does it refer to money, or other things like health too?

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • Canada

    • Join Date: Oct 2008
    • Posts: 1,211
    #6

    Re: scrape x scratch

    It refers to money, generally. Certainly not health. "I'm getting by/along" might be used for health, and other situations. " Still kickin' " works for health, too!

  4. BobK's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK

    • Join Date: Jul 2006
    • Posts: 16,038
    #7

    Re: scrape x scratch

    Quote Originally Posted by jlinger View Post
    ...
    The idioms "scraping by" (barely surviving) and "in a scrape" (in a predicament, trouble) cannot substitute "scratch" however.

    The idioms "up to scratch" (adequate) "from scratch" (using original ingredients rather than a prepared mix) cannot substitute "scrape" however.
    Similarly, "scratch paper" (extra paper for quick notes) is unique.
    Other colloquial expressions:

    'scrape through' - to win/pass a competition/exam/election by a very narrow margin
    (The simple verb 'scrape' is sometimes heard; I believe it is a back-formation from the phrasal verb - 'He just scraped the election by the narrowest of margins'/'He just scraped a pass, in spite of missing one paper' /'England just scraped a draw against a weakened Croatian team'.)

    scratch team - a team that doesn't usually play together, put together at the least minute (often for charity events)

    scratch golfer - this is derived from one of jlinger's definitions; such a golfer starts 'from basic ingredients' in that he has no handicap and so starts with a score of zero.

    And of course 'to scrape the barrel' - to use the least desirable thing last: "After choosing all the best players, he was now really scraping the barrel." (I have heard various explanations of this phrase; the most persuasive, in my view, is based on sailing ships that had a barrel of apples for the crew - as a precaution against Scurvy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia . The less desirable ones sank to the bottom, so that someone who was 'scraping the barrel' had only damaged fruit to choose from.

    b

Similar Threads

  1. From scratch
    By keler in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 07-Feb-2008, 20:52
  2. scratch
    By blouen in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 11-Jul-2007, 05:39
  3. scratch
    By lukre in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 17-Nov-2006, 17:36
  4. scrape vs scratch
    By hela in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 26-Sep-2006, 09:09
  5. Replies: 5
    Last Post: 07-Apr-2005, 06:45

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •