Grab at, Grasp at

Jamal ali

Member
Arabic
Lately, i have been trying to figure out the difference between these two
Before writing the sentenes
I would like to share with you how my dictionary defines each one
First one
Grab at something:
to take advantage of an opportunity to do or have something
Example: he will grab at any excuse to avoid doing the dishes
The second one
Grasp at something:
to take advantage of an opportunity to do or have something ( as you can see it's exactly the same definition as grab at)
Example: he grasped at any hope of escape
And the more i go over both of them in my dictionary, the more i get lost
Would you point out the difference?
 
Last edited:
  • Plant Mom

    New Member
    English - United States
    I've never heard "grab at" in any sense other than literally. For example, a child might grab at your glasses. "Grab at" to me means they attempted to take hold of something. "Grasp at," however, is used metaphorically all the time. A common phrase in English is "grasping at straws," which means "to make a desperate attempt to save oneself." The idea behind this phrase is that someone is drowning and they try to pull themselves out of the water but all they can grab hold of is hay or straw.


    The first example you used, "he will grab at any excuse to avoid doing the dishes," sounds unnatural to me. I would use "grasp at" in that situation, or, more likely, I would say "he will jump at any opportunity to avoid doing the dishes," with "jump at" here meaning immediately and enthusiastically take advantage of that opportunity.
     
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