Chase/run after/run behind/be after

99bottles

Senior Member
Greek
She burst out of the house, screaming in terror. Her pursuer was still chasing her.

She burst out of the house, screaming in terror. Her pursuer was still running after her.

She burst out of the house, screaming in terror. Her pursuer was still running behind her.

She burst out of the house, screaming in terror. Her pursuer was still after her.


What's the difference? Do they mean the same thing?
 
  • pacegiulia

    Senior Member
    English - England
    "Chasing" implies more of a malicious intent, I think, than the other options.
    "Running after" and "running behind" are pretty similar, but I think that "running behind" is less appropriate because it doesn't imply the terror as much as "running after" or "chasing".
    The last option is okay, but I think that either of the first two are best.
    I hope this helps! :)
     

    99bottles

    Senior Member
    Greek
    "Chasing" implies more of a malicious intent, I think, than the other options.
    "Running after" and "running behind" are pretty similar, but I think that "running behind" is less appropriate because it doesn't imply the terror as much as "running after" or "chasing".
    The last option is okay, but I think that either of the first two are best.
    I hope this helps! :)
    So, what's the difference between chase and run after? Should I presume that run after is more informal?
     

    pacegiulia

    Senior Member
    English - England
    So, what's the difference between chase and run after? Should I presume that run after is more informal?
    I think that "chase" implies that something bad is going to happen more than "run after" - for example someone might be chasing someone else so that they can attack them.
    With "run after", someone might be running after someone to tell them they dropped their wallet or something, but someone could equally be running after someone to attack them. (You wouldn't really chase someone to give them back their wallet).
    I'm not really sure how to explain the difference, sorry!
     

    99bottles

    Senior Member
    Greek
    I think that "chase" implies that something bad is going to happen more than "run after" - for example someone might be chasing someone else so that they can attack them.
    With "run after", someone might be running after someone to tell them they dropped their wallet or something, but someone could equally be running after someone to attack them. (You wouldn't really chase someone to give them back their wallet).
    I'm not really sure how to explain the difference, sorry!
    Tell me whether I've got it right...
    -Chase: Always indicates danger.
    -Run after: May or may not indicate danger.
    -Run behind: Neutral.
    -Be after: May or may not indicate running. May or may not indicate danger.
     

    pacegiulia

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Tell me whether I've got it right...
    -Chase: Always indicates danger.
    -Run after: May or may not indicate danger.
    -Run behind: Neutral.
    -Be after: May or may not indicate running. May or may not indicate danger.
    Yes, that is fine. I would say chase does not 100% indicate danger (e.g. little children could be chasing each other in the park) but it does most of the time.
    I'm so sorry I have not explained this the best!
     

    Roxxxannne

    Senior Member
    American English (New England and NYC)
    Chase and run after are different from run behind in that run behind can indicate simply that someone is running and is behind something or someone else. You might run on a track or in a park and someone else might run behind you. They're not competing with you or trying to catch up with you and attack you; they're just running in the same direction you are but two seconds behind.
    But if someone is chasing you or running after you, the implication is often (usually? I don't know) that they are trying to catch up with you, or catch you. They might be a cold-blooded, axe-wielding killer, a friend who's on the other team in a pick-up football game, or someone who saw you leave your manuscript on the bus and wants to return it to you.
     

    99bottles

    Senior Member
    Greek
    Chase and run after are different from run behind in that run behind can indicate simply that someone is running and is behind something or someone else. You might run on a track or in a park and someone else might run behind you. They're not competing with you or trying to catch up with you and attack you; they're just running in the same direction you are but two seconds behind.
    But if someone is chasing you or running after you, the implication is often (usually? I don't know) that they are trying to catch up with you, or catch you. They might be a cold-blooded, axe-wielding killer, a friend who's on the other team in a pick-up football game, or someone who saw you leave your manuscript on the bus and wants to return it to you.
    As if I would ever type my manuscript on paper, let alone take it with me when I go out. 😅

    What about #10?
     

    Roxxxannne

    Senior Member
    American English (New England and NYC)
    I notice you didn't say "As if I would ever be chased by a cold-blooded, axe-wielding killer." :)

    Per se the phrases run after, race after, and chase after do not indicate danger. To continue what I said in #11, they indicate that there is some connection between A (who is running, racing, or chasing after B) and B.
    I believe run after is much more common than race after in AmE. To me A races after B is less likely to imply that B is in danger from A than A runs after/chases after/chases B. But that's probably because I doubt that I ever hear (or use) race after in real life. I'd be much more likely to say "Look at that dog running after the squirrel" or "Look at that dog chasing the squirrel" than "...racing after the squirrel."
     

    99bottles

    Senior Member
    Greek
    I notice you didn't say "As if I would ever be chased by a cold-blooded, axe-wielding killer." :)

    Per se the phrases run after, race after, and chase after do not indicate danger. To continue what I said in #11, they indicate that there is some connection between A (who is running, racing, or chasing after B) and B.
    I believe run after is much more common than race after in AmE. To me A races after B is less likely to imply that B is in danger from A than A runs after/chases after/chases B. But that's probably because I doubt that I ever hear (or use) race after in real life. I'd be much more likely to say "Look at that dog running after the squirrel" or "Look at that dog chasing the squirrel" than "...racing after the squirrel."
    I'm asking because I'm trying to make my writing less bland by using alternatives (remember the relevant discussion HERE), so I was wondering whether I could replace some of the run after in my manuscript with race after. Will that take away the element of danger even if the context makes it clear?
     

    Roxxxannne

    Senior Member
    American English (New England and NYC)
    I don't think replacing run after with race after is going to reduce blandness.

    She burst out of the house, screaming, with her pursuer on her heels. Every second that he didn't tackle her and drag her down was a second closer to freedom.
     

    99bottles

    Senior Member
    Greek
    I don't think replacing run after with race after is going to reduce blandness.

    She burst out of the house, screaming, with her pursuer on her heels. Every second that he didn't tackle her and drag her down was a second closer to freedom.
    I don't think on her heels fits here, because this is a long scene, with the pursuer gaining ground on the victim little by little, which is not plausible if the pursuer is on her heels (=very close) to begin with.

    So does race after reduce the sense of danger? Should I stick with run after?
     

    Roxxxannne

    Senior Member
    American English (New England and NYC)
    By the way, it has a decent amount of hits on Google Books.

    "racing after him" - Google Search
    What can I say? There are all sorts of things in books that I have never heard anyone say in real life.

    I did look at one book in which I found 'racing after him.' It looks as though the author is (successfully) using all sorts of words for moving on foot: swerve, dart, roll, tumble, run, spill, stumble, drag, bound, leap, spring.
    (the book is War at the Edge of the World, by Ian James Ross).
     

    Roxxxannne

    Senior Member
    American English (New England and NYC)
    I don't think on her heels fits here, because this is a long scene, with the pursuer gaining ground on the victim little by little, which is not plausible if the pursuer is on her heels (=very close) to begin with.

    So does race after reduce the sense of danger? Should I stick with run after?
    I think 'run after' and 'race after' are at about the same level in terms of their signifying danger. 'Race after' is much less common than 'run after' in Google ngrams, so maybe it would be a good alternative to repeating 'run after.' On the other hand, in these two isolated sentences,
    She burst out of the house, screaming in terror. Her pursuer was still racing after her.
    is not significantly less bland than
    She burst out of the house, screaming in terror. Her pursuer was still running after her.

    If the pursuer is not close to her when she bursts out of the house, then you might want to convey that somewhere between the beginning of 'she burst out' and the end of 'after her.'
    She bursts out of the house, screaming in terror, and runs across the lawn. She can hear her pursuer in the distance yelling. He's faster, he's going to get me, no he won't. She darts around a parked car and into the street. He's yelling louder now.
     
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