Free rein/Run riot

Miss Piggott

Member
Italy - Italian
Hi people, I'm new here and I hope someone can help me with a doubt:
can "run riot" be used as a synonym of "free rein"?

I'm asking you because I found the following sentence (written by an Italian) wich dosen't convince me for several reasons, one being the use of "run riot"...
Here is the sentence:
After a fun guided tour of the exhibited works, the children are encouraged to let their imaginations run riot and put the experience acquired from the tour into practice, creating fantastic works of art of their own.
Any mistake you find is not mine, but made by the author of the sentence!? :D

Thank you.
 
  • cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    Welcome to the forums, Miss Piggott.

    To give the children free rein is to let them be unconstrained. That is not nearly so strong as to let their imaginations run riot, which means to let their imaginations behave in a wild and even disorderly—as well as unconstrained—manner.
     

    Miss Piggott

    Member
    Italy - Italian
    Could "run free" be an option in this case?
    I was thinking about something similar:
    After an amusing tour of the exhibition, kids are encouraged to let their imagination run free and put into practice the experience acquired during the tour, creating fantastic works of art (on their own/by themselves)
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Run free is OK, but I bet the kids have a lot more fun with the teacher who encourages thm to let their imaginations run riot - it is a much more extravagant expression. You could run free in a fairly orderly manner, still being quite conventional. Not so with run riot - that's more revolutionary and iconoclastic.
     

    Miss Piggott

    Member
    Italy - Italian
    That's what I suspected about run riot.
    I thought that the word riot was too "violent" to be used in this context.
    If it's not abusing of your patience, do you find that anything else should be changed in the sentences?
     
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