hug/embrace

< Previous | Next >

guillaume28

Senior Member
French
Hello everyone,

what's the difference between the verb hug and embrace? For example is "The mother hugged/embraced tightly her son when he came back home" correct? Is there really a difference between the two words?

Thanks
 
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    They are both close synonyms but the nuances of each dictate which is used. "Hug" is more informal, not romantic, mothers hug children, grandparents hug grandchildren, etc. Hug is only very rarely used figuratively.

    Embrace is more formal, possibly romantic. Lovers embrace (romantically), heads of state embrace briefly and formally (at least they do if they are French :D). Embrace is used figuratively.

    "Is "The mother hugged/embraced tightly her son when he came back home" correct?" No. The word order is wrong. Also, see above
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Word order:
    The mother hugged her tightly son
    tightly when he came back home" :tick:
    The mother embraced tightly her son tightly when he came back home" <- for the reasons I gave, I do not find this to be very idiomatic.
     

    Li singh

    Senior Member
    hindi
    Word order:
    The mother hugged her tightly son
    tightly when he came back home" :tick:
    The mother embraced tightly her son tightly when he came back home" <- for the reasons I gave, I do not find this to be very idiomatic.
    Hi PaulQ,
    I would be very opportunate and fortunate if you are here with me with your sympathetic ear. Your English guidance says that 'adverbs' are not used between main verbs and their objects though adverbs can move around a sentence, but I would like to know if the adverb used between the main verb and its object ( the mother hugged tightly her son) makes breach in the grammatical properties a word has with other words. And I would extend my eagerness for your language to this question: why 'hug' and 'embrace' being closely synonynomous are not replaceable, and if not, why do you mention 'close synonym' and their nuance?
     
    Last edited:

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    If synonymous means they have exactly the same meaning and usage, then there are almost no synonymous words in English*. Therefore 'hug' and 'embrace' although closely (i.e. nearly) synonynomous are not mutually replaceable.

    E.g. You can say "I embrace your principles" but not "I hug your principles"; you can say "Romeo and Juliet were locked in an amorous embrace" but not "...an amorous hug".

    (*I'm told that ling and gorse are exactly synonymous, but that's probably not true.)
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Hi PaulQ,
    I would be very opportunate and fortunate if you are here with me with your sympathetic ear. Your English guidance says that 'adverbs' are not used between main verbs and their objects though adverbs can move around a sentence, but I would like to know if the adverb used between the main verb and its object ( the mother hugged tightly her son) makes breach in the grammatical properties a word has with other words.
    This is a matter for another thread. You may wish to start a new thread or ask a moderator to move this part of the question.
    And I would extend my eagerness for your language to this question: why 'hug' and 'embrace' being closely synonymous are not replaceable, and if not, why you mention 'close synonym' and their nuance?
    If you were to see several pictures of two people who were either hugging or embracing, there are circumstances in which you would not be able to say which pairs were hugging and which were embracing. On the other hand, there are some where the pair are obviously hugging or obviously embracing.

    The language recognises this and tries to give information via the word that conveys the most accurate meaning.
     
    Last edited:
    < Previous | Next >
    Top