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Back to school

Posted by R. Berg on June 12, 2003

In Reply to: Re: Ask for/get help posted by Bob on June 12, 2003

: : : : : : Hi experts,

: : : : : : I wonder if the use of the following alternates are right or wrong. Would you give me a hand?

: : : : : : There was an accident. A man on the motorbike hit a stone and fell off (his bike) and lay on the ground. Jim ran to ask for/get help from the school, and a teacher hurried off/away/over with a box of medicine to look after the (injured) man.

: : : : : : By the way, what does "hurry over" mean? "Hurry over" as a phrase cannot be found in dictionaries.

: : : : : : Thank you.

: : : : : : Best regards

: : : : : : Peter

: : : : : All would be correct. The only awkward wording is the first "and" in the second sentence. It could be omitted in favor of a comma. "Hit a stone, fell off ...." etc. "Hurry over" is idiomatic, meaning to come quickly to a place.

: : : : If the question is about the choices separated by slashes, the answer is that "ask for"and "get" are both correct but only "hurried over" has the right meaning. "Hurry off"and "hurry away" mean to leave quickly.

: : : I fractionally disagree. I prefer "to get help from the school". If Jim was asking for help there, I think one would more likely say that he'd run over "to ask for help AT the school".

: : That occurred to me. In fact, I like "at" better than "from" whether the sentence says "ask for" or "get." A school doesn't give help; individuals do. However, replacing "from" with something else wasn't among the choices.

: I had accepted "hurried off" and "hurried away" because I had changed perspective. We went to the school, and then a teacher ( ) to get back to the victim. Maybe I should have stayed at the scene of the accident

Oh, you followed Jim. Dandy!

The original passage allows both interpretations. It's not well written in other ways, too. One with a good command of English would write "a man on a motorbike," not "a man on the motorbike" (unless something preceding the passage had supplied information to the contrary). "A box of medicine" is probably better rendered as "a first-aid kit."