chewing [at] a lump of sugar.

HifaMo

Senior Member
Moroccan Arabic
Hi,

"chewing at a lump of sugar."
Animal Farm, George Orwell.


Does "at" makes a difference if removed?

Thanks.
 
  • Enquiring Mind

    Senior Member
    English - the Queen's
    Hello HifaMo, the "at" could be omitted without any difference in meaning here. If someone/something is "chewing", the object being chewed is almost always inside the mouth.
     

    cyberpedant

    Senior Member
    English USA, Northeast, NYC
    I'm afraid that more context is needed, HifaMo. For example, who's doing the chewing? A small animal would "chew at" its lump of just about anything.
     

    HifaMo

    Senior Member
    Moroccan Arabic
    I'm afraid that more context is needed, HifaMo. For example, who's doing the chewing? A small animal would "chew at" its lump of just about anything.

    So "at" is necessary with a small animal.

    More clarification will be appreciated.
     

    cyberpedant

    Senior Member
    English USA, Northeast, NYC
    Size matters. As EM stated in post 2, "the object being chewed is almost always inside the mouth." But a mouse's mouth is a lot smaller than a "lump" of just about anything, so he will "chew at" it, breaking off little pieces which he will then "chew."
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top