fall behind/lag/straggle

Hi, I'd like to know which of these sentences are acceptable, the context is simple, a horse race:

The horses 9 and 11 fell behind
The horses 9 and 11 lagged
The horses 9 and 11 lagged behind
The horses 9 and 11 straggled
The horses 9 and 11 straggled behind

Thanks in advance
 
  • ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    Hi Henrik.
    The Horses 9 and 11 fell behind:tick:
    The Horses 9 and 11 lagged:(
    The Horses 9 and 11 lagged behind:(
    The Horses 9 and 11 straggled:cross:
    The Horses 9 and 11 straggled behind:cross:
    Fell behind is definitely the best one, i.e. they started to go slower than the rest of the horses.
    None of the rest work particularly well in the context of a horse race, though they would work okay if you were talking about something else.
    Lag generally means go slow(er) in relation to the rest.
    Straggle
    generally means go very slowly in relation to the rest.
     
    Hi Henrik.

    Fell behind is definitely the best one, i.e. they started to go slower than the rest of the horses.
    None of the rest work particularly well in the context of a horse race, though they would work okay if you were talking about something else.
    Lag generally means go slow(er) in relation to the rest.
    Straggle
    generally means go very slowly in relation to the rest.
    Thanks for answering

    1.What kind of contexts are suitable for lag/straggle in terms of racing or kind-of racing?

    2."straggle" and "behind" are compatible like lag-behind?
     

    pickarooney

    Senior Member
    English (Ireland)
    I wouldn't use 'straggle' with 'behind'. You might say
    "The last of the horses straggled home"
    "He lapped a couple of stragglers at the last bend"
    "The favourite had a clear lead over Courteous Pumpkin, who lagged six lengths behind"*

    *I see no problem with your third example sentence, apart from the superfluous 'The'.
     

    Gabriel Malheiros

    Senior Member
    Portuguese - Brazil
    Hi Henrik.

    Fell behind is definitely the best one, i.e. they started to go slower than the rest of the horses.
    None of the rest work particularly well in the context of a horse race, though they would work okay if you were talking about something else.
    Lag generally means go slow(er) in relation to the rest.
    Straggle
    generally means go very slowly in relation to the rest.
    I wouldn't use 'straggle' with 'behind'. You might say
    "The last of the horses straggled home"
    "He lapped a couple of stragglers at the last bend"
    "The favourite had a clear lead over Courteous Pumpkin, who lagged six lengths behind"*

    *I see no problem with your third example sentence, apart from the superfluous 'The'.


    Hi, there

    What if I wanted to say the horses 9 and 11 were the last ones to cross the finish line, would it sound odd to say "straggle in"? "Here come the two last horses straggling in" or "Straggling into the last turn".?
     

    Florentia52

    Modwoman in the attic
    English - United States
    What if I wanted to say the horses 9 and 11 were the last ones to cross the finish line, would it sound odd to say "straggle in"? "Here come the two last horses straggling in" or "Straggling into the last turn".?
    You haven't given us enough context to indicate whether"straggle in" would be appropriate. The last two horses to cross the finish line aren't necessarily stragglers.
     

    Gabriel Malheiros

    Senior Member
    Portuguese - Brazil
    You haven't given us enough context to indicate whether"straggle in" would be appropriate. The last two horses to cross the finish line aren't necessarily stragglers.
    What would characterize them as stragglers? If there is a pack of horses and two of them are falling behind, one further behind than the other, wouldn't you say "they are straggling in the back of the pack"? That's why I thought you could say "The last two horses straggled in" to mean "The last two horses crossed the line."
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    What would characterize them as stragglers? If there is a pack of horses and two of them are falling behind, one further behind than the other, wouldn't you say "they are straggling in the back of the pack"? That's why I thought you could say "The last two horses straggled in" to mean "The last two horses crossed the line."
    It would suggest to me that they were going slowly, and were some distance behind the others. So: "They are straggling behind the rest of the pack" would work.

    Similarly "The last two horses straggled across the finishing line" would imply that it was some time after all the others had finished.
     

    Gabriel Malheiros

    Senior Member
    Portuguese - Brazil
    It would suggest to me that they were going slowly, and were some distance behind the others. So: "They are straggling behind the rest of the pack" would work.

    Similarly "The last two horses straggled across the finishing line" would imply that it was some time after all the others had finished.
    But could I use "straggle in" instead of "straggle across the finishing line"? "The last two horses straggled in"? I am trying to get across the following message, DonnyB: In a dictionary, I came across this sentencd:"he drifted in back of the pack halfway down the homestretch"... The I started wondering whether it would be possible to use "straggle in" instead of drift to mean two horses were in the last two positions, with the rest of the horses way out front. Then, after all the other horses had crossed the finishing line, the last two horses came slowly across the finishing line.
     
    Last edited:

    jmichaelm

    Senior Member
    English - US
    You seem to be using "straggle" correctly when you talk about a horse that is last and running slowly, and that finishes far behind the rest of the horses. However "drifted back" is not really the same thing as "straggle". A horse could "drift back" from the lead halfway through a race and still finish in the middle of the pack.
     
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