mock at ?

ophelinda

New Member
France French
Hi!
Was wondering if it's just "to mock someone or somethi,ng "or if it's possible to mock "at" his being clumsy... Or if it's absolutely incorrect
Thanks
 
  • cropje_jnr

    Senior Member
    English - Australia
    Well no, you would say "to mock his clumsiness" or "to mock his being clumsy" (less common) -- se moquer de sa maladresse.

    You can however say "laugh at his clumsiness."
     

    LMorland

    Senior Member
    American English
    Hi; ophelinda, and welcome to the Forum!

    No, 'mocked' is transitive; that is, it takes as its direct object the person being mocked (or characteristic of same): "He's always mocking my American accent"; "She mocked the way he always wore socks with sandals."
     

    hunternet

    Senior Member
    France - French
    Well no, you would say "to mock his clumsiness" or "to mock his being clumsy" (less common) -- se moquer de sa maladresse.

    You can however say "laugh at his clumsiness."
    Hi; ophelinda, and welcome to the Forum!

    No, 'mocked' is transitive; that is it takes as its direct object the person being mocked (or characteristic of same): "He's always mocking my American accent"; "She mocked the way he wore socks with his sandals."
    OK, I may try to get back one or two points from previous grammar tests passed several years ago (and that teacher was quite self-confident !!). But then, "to laugh at" is so widely used...
     

    LMorland

    Senior Member
    American English
    But then, "to laugh at" is so widely used...
    However, I would argue that "to mock" and "to laugh at" have differerent connotations (that arguably overlap). In the second of my examples above, if one substituted "to laugh at" for "mock" it would mean that "When she saw him wearing socks with his sandals, she burst out laughing." And that's not what I meant when I conceived the sentence.

    To mock
    is gentler than to laugh at, in my opinion. :) Mocking doesn't imply laughter; either affectionate teasing or, on the meaner side of the coin, haughty disdain.
     

    chicoce

    New Member
    francais
    hi,
    if u look it up in a dictionnary,(francais-anglais translation) u will find "mock at" as a translation for "se moquer de", but it's not commonly used.
     

    hunternet

    Senior Member
    France - French
    hi,
    if u look it up in a dictionnary,(francais-anglais translation) u will find "mock at" as a translation for "se moquer de", but it's not commonly used.
    After googling on the Web, it seems that "mock at" is used in the Bible and some proverbs...Then, it would be an ancient form and the verb has become transitive.

    Maybe some native would confirm this ?
     

    cropje_jnr

    Senior Member
    English - Australia
    On second thoughts, I have heard it before once or twice, I think. But I am sure that Australian English-speakers do not say "mock at", and it sounds a little strange to my ears, definitely.

    After googling on the Web, it seems that "mock at" is used in the Bible and some proverbs...Then, it would be an ancient form and the verb has become transitive.

    Maybe some native would confirm this ?
    I can't really say with any certainty, sorry! :D
     

    LMorland

    Senior Member
    American English
    After googling on the Web, it seems that "mock at" is used in the Bible and some proverbs...Then, it would be an ancient form and the verb has become transitive.

    Maybe some native would confirm this ?
    Dear Hunternet,

    Unfortunately my OED lives in California, and so I can't be of help.

    It's quite an interesting question you raise, though, and certainly worth posting in the English-only forum.

    I just replicated your Google search, and you're quite right that the quotations fall into the Biblical/religious category, with this very notable exception (from F. Scott Fitzgerald's Tender is the Night, and quite amusing in itself!):
    He mocked at his reasoning, calling it specious and “American”—his criteria of uncerebral phrase-making was that it was American. He knew, though, that the price of his intactness was incompleteness.
     

    viera

    Senior Member
    English/French/Slovak
    To mock is not very common and I have never used it.
    When they mean "se moquer de", I think most anglophones use "to make fun of".
     

    LMorland

    Senior Member
    American English
    To mock is not very common and I have never used it.
    When they mean "se moquer de", I think most anglophones use "to make fun of".
    I respectfully disagree that to mock is not very common. My Google search just pulled up
    un total d'environ 3 860 000 pour mocked (0,05 secondes)
    Whereas Google found
    un total d'environ 2 350 000 pour "make fun of" (0,18 secondes)
    However, I get your point, viera. While I use both locutions myself, I would consider mocked to be indicative of a higher educational level in the speaker than made fun of, that's true. (And I'm not implying that you don't have a high educational level yourself, viera! Speech practices differ, and maybe you've spent a long time away from an anglophone country? Or maybe it's used more in AE than in BE, although I'd be surprised if this were the case.)
     

    quietsoul

    Member
    Australia, living in England
    I agree with cropje jnr.
    One can mock someone's accent/clothes/whatever, but to mock at something sounds old-fashioned at best - at least to my Australian English ears.
    quietsoul
     

    LMorland

    Senior Member
    American English
    After googling on the Web, it seems that "mock at" is used in the Bible and some proverbs...Th[us] it would [seem to] be an [earlier]form and the verb has [since] become transitive.

    Maybe some native would confirm this ?
    Hi, Hunternet,

    Your question piqued my curiosity, and so I posted it on the English-only forum. Here's the thread (the answer came courtesy of Mod Panjandrum): http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=667361
     

    hunternet

    Senior Member
    France - French
    Hi, Hunternet,

    Your question piqued my curiosity, and so I posted it on the English-only forum. Here's the thread (the answer came courtesy of Mod Panjandrum): http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=667361
    wow, OK thanks for the further explanation, it seems that this thread is ruffling the britishism of many members, but now we have the solution, thanks LM and Co. for your brilliant work !
     
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