grab vs. grab onto

Discussion in 'English Only' started by LQZ, Nov 19, 2009.

  1. LQZ

    LQZ Senior Member

    Dear all,

    Can I use grab to substitute for "grab onto"? If not, could you tell me why? Thanks.

  2. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    Another Country
    English English
    Hello LQZ. No, I don't think you can there. (You quite often can use one or the other, but not here.) Here grab onto means something like 'take hold of in an opportune way in order to use for a particular purpose' ~ that meaning just wouldn't come across if you used grab on its own:)
  3. In that context, grab could be used alone, but grab onto is more graphic.

    The implication is that the opponents are desperate for something to save their case. Like a drowning man, they will grab onto anything that floats by. Grab onto implies keeping hold of something for one's own safety, but grab on its own can mean taking it away, as in stealing.
  4. LQZ

    LQZ Senior Member

    ;)Aha, I got it. Thanks.
  5. zhonglin Senior Member


    Can I say this phrase in the following contexts?

    1) I was grabbing onto her when were in the horror maze
    2) she was grabbing onto a pillow when we were watching a horror movie

    Please advise, thank you.
  6. Linkway Senior Member

    British English

    1) I was clutching on to her [ OR: clinging on to her ] in the horror maze.

    2) She was clutching a pillow when we were watching a horror movie.

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