fly non-stop over the Gulf of Mexico

quietdandelion

Banned
Formosa/Chinese
Researchers believe that some hummingbirds fly non-stop over the Gulf of Mexico. This unbelievable 500-mile flight takes from 18 to 22 hours! But the Rufous Hummingbird migrates the longest distance, from Mexico to Alaska and back, totaling 5,000 miles.


I wonder if I could use "straight" to replace "non-stop" here without changing its meaning.
Second, could I insert "for" after migrates? Thanks.
 
  • nichec

    Senior Member
    Chinese(Taiwan)/English(AE)
    Non-stop is used quite often with airplanes--and it means they don't land anywhere on the way from Point A to Point B.
    On the other hand, if you use "straight", you lose the sense of "without stopping".
     

    Harry Batt

    Senior Member
    USA English
    You would have to use non-stop in the context that you describe. The hummingbirds land nowhere in between leaving the american coast and arriving on the south american coast. Therefore it is non-stop. Straight would chance the meeting. It would describe only the route and say nothing about the exertion.
     

    nichec

    Senior Member
    Chinese(Taiwan)/English(AE)
    I wonder if this is what caused the confusion:

    When you say "I am going straight home", it seems to me that you mean you are not going to stop by anywhere, you are going "non-stop" home.
     

    Prairiefire

    Senior Member
    US (Midwest) - English
    Interesting. I've always heard "I'm going straight home" more literally, as if the speaker were saying, "I'm not going to turn off my course toward home."
     

    lablady

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    Oh, okay, so maybe I was wrong then :p
    I don't think you were wrong, Nichec, just incomplete.

    As an AE mom, when I told my daughters to "come straight home from school", I meant they were to come home immediately, not to deviate from their course and there was to be no dawdling. I suspect other moms have used this meaning as well.

    See definition #8 under adverbs in the American Heritage dictionary entry for straight. :D

    Edit: However, I agree with the others in that "non-stop" gives a more accurate description of the hummingbirds' flight. It's an amazing feat that is best described in a way that leaves no room for mis-interpretation.
     
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