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    #1

    Usage of fling and hurtle

    1) He flung the ball hard and it came hurtling towards us.

    Can someone please tell me if fling and hurtle are correctly used? (Should it be '...are correctly used?' or '...have been correctly used?'? What's the difference?)


    Do we use hurtle only when talking about things that are moving fast on the ground? Can it be used for things thrown in air too?

  1. Monticello's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Usage of fling and hurtle

    Quote Originally Posted by daemon99 View Post
    1) He flung the ball hard and it came hurtling towards us.

    Can someone please tell me if fling and hurtle are correctly used? (Should it be '...are correctly used?' or '...have been correctly used?'? What's the difference?)


    Do we use hurtle only when talking about things that are moving fast on the ground? Can it be used for things thrown in air too?
    Hi daemon99,

    Both words, i.e., fling and hurtle, are (or have been) used correctly in your above example sentence.

    Some things to consider here: Since the verb to fling (and, hence, its past tense, flung) carries the meaning "[t]o throw with violence," then the construction "to fling ... hard" may be seen by some as a redundancy. Why not then instead? :
    He threw the ball. It came hurtling toward us.
    As I've already stated, the use of flung would not be incorrect here. So why do I suggest the use of threw here, instead of flung? Further, why do I suggest two sentences instead of one joined by the conjunction and? :

    (1) The verb to throw is more direct here; though one may, of course, fling a ball, the more usual verb for a ball is to throw; (2) The word flung, being a "twice irregular" past tense English verb (the usual irregular conjugation: present, past, past participle: ring, rang, rung; sing, sang, sung. But fling, flang, flung??? No! - to fling is "twice irregular," fling, flung, flung), seems to draw unnecessay attention to itself here; (3) The ensuing word, hurtling, describes the force of the thrown ball; thus, a similar kind of redundancy in the construction "flung ... hard" is present here with "... flung ... came hurtling." Let's eliminate redundancy altogether; (4) Now, with the more usual verb form, threw, the reader needs the second sentence (in your case the second clause) to complete the idea of the force by which the ball has been thrown; (5) Changing your one sentence into two by getting rid of the conjunction, and, forces the reader to at first separate the two actions; (6) With the first sentence now flowing immediately into the second (without the and), the reader is forced to make the connection about the speed of the thrown ball; (7) The element of surprise for the reader is now highlighted, reflecting the same kind of surprise for those in the second sentence who are experiencing the hurtling ball.

    ***********

    You may say either "... are correctly used ..." or "... have been correctly used...". The slight difference in meaning is one that occurs between present and present perfect "tense."
    Last edited by Monticello; 24-Apr-2009 at 17:04.

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    #3

    Re: Usage of fling and hurtle

    Thanks a lot, Monticello! That was elaborate and clear.

    I have another question on this. A few days ago there was news about a shoe-thrower, which you might have heard too. I observed that most newspapers reported it as.

    Reporter hurls a shoe at the President.

    Why didn't they use fling instead? I have seen some of the newspapers using throw to describe it but fling wasn't used much. Is there a reason for that or is it just some coincidence?

    Also, how do chuck and toss fit in here? Would they be appropriate?

    Also, say there was a quiz going on and whoever in the audience gave the right answer would get a bar of chocolate. What would be the right word to use there? Does the sentence below sound correct? Can you suggest some better alternatives for chuck?

    He chucked the bars of chocolate at the audience.

  2. Monticello's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Usage of fling and hurtle

    Hi daemon99,

    Quote Originally Posted by daemon99
    Thanks a lot, Monticello! That was elaborate and clear.
    You're very welcome!

    Quote Originally Posted by daemon99
    I have another question on this. A few days ago there was news about a shoe-thrower, which you might have heard too. I observed that most newspapers reported it as.

    Reporter hurls a shoe at the President.

    Why didn't they use fling instead? I have seen some of the newspapers using throw to describe it but fling wasn't used much. Is there a reason for that or is it just some coincidence?
    - And to think that some may ever have implied that our former president "couldn't think on his feet!"

    Even though both hurl and fling are given almost identical definitions in the previous entries, my own sense is that hurl carries with it a greater sense of force. Perhaps this is because the beginning consonant blend "fl" of fling is also present in the word flick, and thus by this phonemic association fling appears somewhat weaker than hurl? - Just speculation on my part.

    Nonetheless, one must recognize that the very sounds of words also carry "meaning." And the sound of the word hurl, with its aspirate beginning 'h' is probably why the majority of editors went with it over fling.

    Quote Originally Posted by daemon99
    Also, how do chuck and toss fit in here? Would they be appropriate?
    The verb (to) chuck, also a synonym for throw, is close in meaning to the verb (to) toss -- both meaning to throw lightly. The word chuck, however, has the association of throwing something out, i.e., getting rid of something: Chuck it! -- meaning: Throw it out! Get rid of it! Though one may also "toss things out" (i.e., get rid of things), one tosses, but never chucks, horseshoes (- at least not that I, in the US, am aware of).

    Quote Originally Posted by daemon99
    Also, say there was a quiz going on and whoever in the audience gave the right answer would get a bar of chocolate. What would be the right word to use there? Does the sentence below sound correct? Can you suggest some better alternatives for chuck?

    He chucked the bars of chocolate at the audience.
    Since I'm a chocolate lover, I'd love to be one of the lucky ones in that audience.

    Here again (or should that be, hear again?), the alliteration of the 'ch' consonant in your sentence invites humor. It reminds me of the kind of nonsense sentences -- tongue twisters -- that are often given to children to help with their enunciation. (Perhaps: Chuck chucked the chunks of chippety chocolate at the churning choo-choo.)

    So unless you're going for something humorous here, why not simply: "He tossed the chocolate bars to the winners (in the audience)."?
    Last edited by Monticello; 25-Apr-2009 at 22:56.

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    #5

    Re: Usage of fling and hurtle

    Thanks a lot, Monticello!

    He sure was quick on his feet

    And that reporter has been inspirational to many reporters here in my country. Since that happened, at least four such incidents have happened here including one today.

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