aim at / target [throw]

piotr1980

Senior Member
Polish
Hello,
How would you say the below sentence (which verb is corrrect?)


I want to aim this paper at bin. (garbage bin)
I want to target this paper into bin.

Many thanks
Piotr
 
  • JamesM

    Senior Member
    It's not the verb that's giving me trouble in your examples but the object. I had to think abut it a bit. In Engilsh, I think we would say "I want to aim/target this shot for the bin/wastebasket." In other words, it's the throw or shot that is being aimed, not the paper.

    I'm interested in hearing what others have to say about this. I don't think I have it quite right yet.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    It's not the verb that's giving me trouble in your examples but the object. I had to think abut it a bit. In English, I think we would say "I want to aim/target this shot for the bin/wastebasket." In other words, it's the throw or shot that is being aimed, not the paper.

    I'm interested in hearing what others have to say about this. I don't think I have it quite right yet.

    This is pretty much what I was going to say but you beat me to the punch.

    You "throw, shoot, toss, etc." the paper. You "aim" or "target" the toss, shot or throw.



    When you "shoot a gun at your spouse" it is assumed that you aimed the gun in some manner.

    "He aimed the weapon at his wife and fired. She fell dead at his feet."

    "He fired the weapon wildly, without really aiming, and his shot flew wide of his target."
     

    Porteño

    Member Emeritus
    British English
    I don't think that 'target' can be used as a verb in this context. To target is practically synonymous with 'to aim' but is more generally used in the sense of directing at a group of people; e.g. 'this advertising campaign specifically targets the 19-25 age group.'
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Also: Target Acquisition Confirmed. Commence firing. Spouse hit; Confirmed, spouse hit. Target destroyed. Good job, Bravo 1.

    Military speak, not good English, but the term Target is used in this manner. The weapon has acquired the proper aim point and that is confirmed by either a person or a computer.

    Note: The spouse can be either husband or wife. No misogyny or misandry to be inferred.
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    I don't think that 'target' can be used as a verb in this context. To target is practically synonymous with 'to aim' but is more generally used in the sense of directing at a group of people; e.g. 'this advertising campaign specifically targets the 19-25 age group.'
    It is used in this sense, but I think it's borrowed from military use of the word. Here are some examples:

    http://op-for.com/deployed/

    I will tell you that the folks of Oriental, NC were very kind and generous, even as we targeted their houses and stores and directed Harriers on simulated bombing and strafing runs.

    http://www.defenselink.mil/transcripts/transcript.aspx?transcriptid=2106

    And in response, we targeted their mortar teams. We killed four of their mortar teams and captured two.

    http://www.woodenboatvb.com/vbulletin/upload/archive/index.php/t-38744.html

    In the Gulf War we targeted their weapons systems almost exclusively, and it seemed to work, although Saddam told Dan Rather he lost only about 10% of his fighting systems.
     

    liliput

    Senior Member
    U.K. English
    I think "to target" is to convert something into a target. It's a little excessive in this context - you don't want to destroy the bin.
    Your 1st sentence is technically correct but I can't imagine anyone saying it.
    "I want to throw this paper away, so I'm going to aim at the bin." - makes more sense, but again I can't imagine anyone saying it.
    A more likely situation:
    1: "Hey! You hit me with that paper!"
    2: "Oh! I'm sorry, I was aiming for the bin."
     

    coiffe

    Senior Member
    USA
    American English
    I agree with Porteno's note on the word "target." As for the first, assuming you add "the" before "bin," I actually think it's okay (call it a "wad of paper," though, or something like that). I'm sure lots of us would word that a little differerently, but I think sometimes we'd say exactly that:

    "I'm going to aim this paper airplane at the greenhouse below."

    Maybe some of the objections have to do with aiming "paper" instead of a "wad of paper" or something that has weight and can be thrown.
     
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