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Hammer home

Posted by Lewis on May 17, 2004

In Reply to: Hammer posted by R. Berg on May 16, 2004

: : : : Doe the phrase *Hammer something into someone* mean to force someone to to remember something by repeating it , and therefore equivalent of *cramming*?

: : : : thanks
: : : Yes and no. It does mean to repeat something forcefully and frequently. "Cramming" doesn't contain that element of repeating, repeating, repeating...

: : Isn't "hammering" something in akin to learning by rote?

: : Cramming is last-minute desperate learning as practiced by college students the night before a test.

: To hammer something into someone can mean to repeat the point forcefully with the goal of having the person take it seriously (e.g., obey a rule of behavior), not necessarily the goal of simply having the person remember it. Cramming is confined to learning facts, and students do it themselves. One doesn't cram somebody else.

it's a metaphor based on DIY/carpentry - if you 'hammer home' a nail, you knock it all the way in and if a lesson is 'hammered home' then that means that the importance has been strongly emphasised and the person learning has taken it in in the same way as a piece of wood takes a nail
- when a nail has been hammered home it cannot easily be removed. there is an implication of a lack of subtlety on the part of the teacher.