grab one's ass/grope one's butt

Discussion in 'English Only' started by diegoclegane, Apr 21, 2017.

  1. diegoclegane Senior Member

    Mandarin-China
    Hi,

    A girl encountered street harassment and then reported to 911.

    girl: I wanna report a street harassment, someone grabbed my ass just now.

    police: you mean he groped your butt?

    girl: ah...yes!

    My question: is that "grab ass" odd to native speaker?
     
  2. owlman5

    owlman5 Senior Member

    Colorado
    English-US
    It doesn't sound odd at all. People will often say something like that if somebody touches their backsides without consent to do so. I'm not sure why the police officer felt the need to rephrase the original remark.:rolleyes:
     
  3. Here, though, I think "ass" is still considered close to vulgar by many people, whereas "butt" is usually regarded as being milder and more acceptable.

    Since the policeman was on official duty, I think he automatically switched the words to avoid any future repercussions directed toward him.

    (I doubt very much he would have been personally, privately "shocked." :))

    So, I'd say it's not a question of "oddness" but probably one of using appropriate language with the pubic.
     
  4. diegoclegane Senior Member

    Mandarin-China
    The girl is my friend, and she said the police didn't get it at the first time and confused for a while when she said someone grabbed her ass, then he came up with "groped your butt."
     
  5. diegoclegane Senior Member

    Mandarin-China
    Yeah that makes sense.

    I don't understand this, why the police would be shocked. By what? Is that "grab one's ass" bad English?
     
  6. Egmont Senior Member

    Massachusetts, U.S.
    English - U.S.
    There are really two questions here: grab vs. grope and ass vs. butt.

    The question of ass vs. butt has been addressed above.

    As for grab vs. grope: the difference is one of sexual intent. Groping is always done with sexual intent. Grabbing, even of the buttocks, may or may not be. If the police officer wanted to be clear that sexual intent was involved, changing grabbed to groped is a good idea.
     
  7. pob14 Senior Member

    Central Illinois
    American English
    I don't see that there was a policeman involved in the conversation. The OP says that the girl called 911. (They wouldn't be shocked by "ass" or find the phrase unusual either, though.) I suspect this is more an issue of difficulty understanding words over the phone than it is of word choice.

    Diegoclegane, where did this happen, and is the girl not a native English speaker, or does she have some sort of accent not common in the area?
     
  8. You little ripper! Senior Member

    Australia
    Australian English
    The OP states it was a policeman who asked, "You mean he groped your butt?", so the conversation could have happened after 911 switched the girl through to the police.
     
  9. diegoclegane Senior Member

    Mandarin-China
    Maybe "grab" is properly used in describing a street robbery, like grab one's bag and run away?

    Yes, you are right. She is a Chinese girl, not a native speaker, and everything happened in a panic. But afterward she was asked to rewrite the report record: I, XXX, identity the person on this photo to be the one, who grabbed my ass groped my butt, on April 16th, 2017.
     
  10. pob14 Senior Member

    Central Illinois
    American English
    I've read "grabbed my ass" in dozens of police reports. Leaving aside the issue of the police possibly screwing up this case completely by telling her what to write, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the original phrasing.

    "Grabbing" to me connotes a single action, while "groping" sounds like something that took longer and perhaps involved moving the hand to different areas. Perhaps she described in more detail what happened, and they were trying to "help" her phrase it more accurately.
     
  11. Aeqin

    Aeqin Member

    English - U.S.
    Grab suggests that the person just grabbed her butt. It doesn't suggest anything else.
    Grope means that the person grabbed it in a sexual way.

    Ass is a vulgar way to say buttocks.
    Butt is much less vulgar.

    It doesn't sound weird at all. Maybe the officer thought that his/her word choice was more appropriate.
     
  12. You misunderstood me. I had said "I don't believe he would have been shocked..." and I had put a little smiley icon to indicate how absurd that idea is.

    .
     
  13. Aeqin

    Aeqin Member

    English - U.S.
    What do you mean by "bad"? If you're asking if it's grammatically incorrect, no. If you're asking if it's inappropriate, yes; "ass" is vulgar.
     
  14. diegoclegane Senior Member

    Mandarin-China
    Thank you all very much! Problem has been solved.

    Best regards.
     

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