How To Explain "tap Away"

felipe82

New Member
spanish-colombia
Hi, I was giving a private class to a student here in Colombia and he asked me a question about an xbox game he likes to play, named mortal kombat. At some point in the game, his character is asked to tap away on the opponent 3 times. He asked me what tap away was, and I didn´t know how to explain it. Could someone give me a little help on this? Thanks.
 
  • DaleC

    Senior Member
    felipe82 said:
    Hi, I was giving a private class to a student here in Colombia and he asked me a question about an xbox game he likes to play, named mortal kombat. At some point in the game, his character is asked to tap away on the opponent 3 times. He asked me what tap away was, and I didn´t know how to explain it. Could someone give me a little help on this? Thanks.

    I think "tap away 3 times" is nonsense. "Tap away" by itself is meaningful, although perhaps it might not be appropriate in the context of this instruction.
     

    nycphotography

    Senior Member
    American English
    tap away = verb + away = commence verbing freely and without restriction.

    Fire away!
    Type away!

    So, in this context, it is (as DaleC observed) a contradictory (ie incorrect) usage, since "3 times" serves as a limit on tapping.
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    nycphotography said:
    tap away = verb + away = commence verbing freely and without restriction.

    Fire away!
    Type away!

    So, in this context, it is (as DaleC observed) a contradictory (ie incorrect) usage, since "3 times" serves as a limit on tapping.

    Yes, the away suggests some considerable amount of time so "tap away for hours" - "tap away 3 times" doesn't make sense - I would suggest your pupil is misremembering what he read in the game.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    There is absolutely nothing difficult or complex or wrong about this phrase.

    It was very clear from a quick Google on xbox and "tap away" that to anyone who knows about xbox, the term "tap away" has a very precise and readily understood meaning.

    filipe82 has asked a genuine question, correctly expressed, and correctly remembered. So, unless we actually know what this meaning is, we are guessing here, not helping.

    Maybe there is an xbox mortal kombat expert out there who can offer some genuine help:) And maybe, in our state of lack of knowledge, we might be a little more judicious in the terms used to describe "tap away".:D
    ______________________
    I am not able to access any of the detailed sites from within my cosy firewalls, but my guess is that there is either a screen button, or a console button that is labelled "away", that should be tapped three times.
     

    nycphotography

    Senior Member
    American English
    Oh GACK! It's tap the [AWAY] button 3 times.

    Wayyy back when I was writing user docs, my editor was adamant that I pick a convention for representing a key name and stick with it.

    Tap [AWAY] 3 times.
    Tap <AWAY> 3 times.
    Tap <Away> 3 times.

    The use of caps helps considerably in identifying that "tap AWAY" is not to be taken as the grammar of "tap away" would suggest.
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    nycphotography said:
    Oh GACK! It's tap the [AWAY] button 3 times.

    Wayyy back when I was writing user docs, my editor was adamant that I pick a convention for representing a key name and stick with it.

    Tap [AWAY] 3 times.
    Tap <AWAY> 3 times.
    Tap <Away> 3 times.

    The use of caps helps considerably in identifying that "tap AWAY" is not to be taken as the grammar of "tap away" would suggest.

    Ah! Well done NYC! At last it makes sense. This reminds me of the person phoning the computer help desk to ask where the "any" key was when the on-screen instruction was "press any key to continue". Goes to show that a little punctuation goes a long way :)
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    The penny dropped for me too.
    filipe82 will have heard the question as tap away, and reported it as such.

    The Google links have a capital A on Away, which is a bit of a giveaway, now that I look at it more intently.
     

    thatsimonguy

    Member
    English - Canada
    From what I remember in my video gaming days (many moons ago), two opponents face each other on the screen and duel to the death in Mortal Kombat. The two opponents can easily interchange positions on the screen depending on where each player decides to move so I can only infer that 'tap away' in this context must mean that the joystick is to be pushed in the opposite direction of the opponent.

    For example, if your character is on the left side of the screen facing the opponent who is on the right side of the screen, "tap away" might mean that you quickly push the joystick to the left three times in a row which in most cases would move your character three steps away from the opponent. These combinations often are used to execute "special" moves in the game itself.

    -Simon

    panjandrum said:
    I am not able to access any of the detailed sites from within my cosy firewalls, but my guess is that there is either a screen button, or a console button that is labelled "away", that should be tapped three times.
     

    DaleC

    Senior Member
    "Who's on First", by Abbott and Costello. :D

    panjandrum said:
    It was very clear from a quick Google on xbox and "tap away" that to anyone who knows about xbox, the term "tap away" has a very precise and readily understood meaning.

    And maybe, in our state of lack of knowledge, we might be a little more judicious in the terms used to describe "tap away".:D

    I am almost convinced by this argument, which means that I take your point up to a point. I accept that I should not feel absolutely sure of my judgements until I can feel absolutely sure I know the whole context.

    But I can't bring myself to concede being totally in error. (Yet.) Since felipe82 had kindly informed us this had to do with the instructions for use of a computer game device, it certainly had occurred to me from the very first that there might be some bizarre, parochial usage at play. But I had assumed that felipe82 would have taken the trouble to clear that debris from our path -- that he would have read the manual himself before deciding he needed a third party's opinion.

    In a way, my earlier categorical statement is *still* valid, seeing how it turns out that the point of difficulty was *not* "tap away", but "tap 'Away'". That is, 'away' is not "English preposition meaning such and such", but rather, "name of a key (or button, or whatever) on the console of the Xbox electronic game device". This would be like asking for a definition of "hit enter". If by 'enter' we mean "English verb meaning to move oneself into an enclosed space", then indeed there is no such collocation as "hit enter".

    I believe my mistake was in not leaving this thread to Xbox users.
     
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