bite or nip


Can I use ' bite" in the following sentence instead of ' nip'? what is the difference? some people say I can't use bite and why?

The dot always try to bite ( nip???) people and even it bit my grandmother.
  • Lexiphile

    Senior Member
    England English
    It would help if you could tell us what "the dot" are? Do they bite, or do they just nip (which is a small, relatively painless, bite)?
    But I see in the second half of your sentence that "the dot" is suddenly singular. What is it?? Shouldn't it be "...tries to bite/nip...."?


    Senior Member
    I'm guessing that's a "dog," Lexi. :D

    "The dog always tries to bite people and even bit my grandmother" looks OK to me, but I don't like that you have "bite" twice.

    I might prefer something along the lines of "This dog is agressive and even bit my grandma once."


    Senior Member
    England English
    Ah-ha!! Trisia, you may well be right.
    Then it depends on whether the dog is an alsatian or a toy dog that looks more like a rat on a string. They try to bite, but what results is normally just a nip. And a dog doesn't necessarily need to be agressive to bite or nip. Just being friendly suffices sometimes.

    And I'm not sure that the use of bite and bit in the same sentence is all that horrific. I would use bite (in deference to the rat's feelings).


    Senior Member
    USA English
    A nip, which might be no more than a pinch, is less than a bite, which presumably breaks the skin.

    (Note that 'nip' also is a colloquial term for a quick swig of liquor.)
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