I pricked myself on/with a needle

< Previous | Next >

Alexei Vronsky

Member
Serbian
I'd say that I pricked myself on a needle means that I did it accidentally, and I pricked myself with a needle means that I did it on purpose. Am I right?
 
  • Alexei Vronsky

    Member
    Serbian
    Thanks a bunch!
    Whenever I say something I haven't heard before from a native speakers' mouth, I have a strange feeling that I said something that sounds completely unnatural. :(
     

    Silver_Biscuit

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    To be honest, I'd assume that both were accidental unless something else in the context suggested otherwise. Simply because in most situations, there is no good reason to think that anyone would want to hurt themselves with a needle.

    I think your distinction is still good, though, and I agree with you in theory. The nurse pricked my finger with a needle to get a drop of blood - the nurse obviously did this on purpose, and 'with' is definitely the correct preposition. I would use 'on' and 'with' exactly as you have said, but I would also make sure that if it wasn't an accident, this was clear from the context, because I think relying on the preposition leaves room for misinterpretation.
     

    GMF1991

    Senior Member
    English (UK, Suffolk)
    Just a thought, it could be to do with movement of the object or subject....

    When saying "with" it implies that you moved the object

    When saying "on" it implies that you moved into the object...
     

    Silver_Biscuit

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    Just a thought, it could be to do with movement of the object or subject....

    When saying "with" it implies that you moved the object

    When saying "on" it implies that you moved into the object...
    I completely agree with this. However, we can still hurt ourselves accidentally when we're moving the object, not ourselves, e.g. 'I hit my thumb with the hammer' - this could have been an accident or it could have been self-harm. We'd need more context to know for sure, but personally I'd assume accident unless I knew otherwise.
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    That's a good point. It's not that we make a distinction between voluntary and involuntary as such, but the motion (or not) of the needle usually implies which it was.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top