Run/race/dash/rush

99bottles

Senior Member
Greek
What's the difference between those verbs? E.g.

She hears footsteps. It must be him! She looks around, desperately trying to find somewhere to hide. Finally, she runs/rushes/dashes/races into the janitor's closet.
 
  • 99bottles

    Senior Member
    Greek
    Nothing, really. They all just mean to move quickly. "Runs" could mean literally running, but not necessarily.
    I'm asking because someone on Facebook told me my writing is bland and suggested some alternatives for run. How can I decide when to use each?
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    It is tricky. Native speakers get a feel for which word to use through long exposure to the language, so we are familiar with what words are used in what situations. In your sentences, I imagine the closet to be close at hand, and the person reaches the closet before her pursuer even knows she is there, so "races" seems inappropriate. "Dash" is particularly associated with short distances, so this is the one I would choose, but you have not done badly at all coming up with those alternatives.

    Some dictionaries, notably Lexico, give a large number of example sentences. These provide a better guide to usage than merely looking at definitions.
     

    Roxxxannne

    Senior Member
    American English (New England and NYC)
    How close is she to the janitor's closet? If she's close, then 'ducks into the janitor's closet' might work.
     

    Chasint

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Does she run to the closet and then in, or does she run into it? The latter sounds painful.

    How about

    she dodges into the janitor's closet

    she sidesteps into the janitor's closet
     

    Roxxxannne

    Senior Member
    American English (New England and NYC)
    Or you could avoid how she gets in altogether: She looks around, desperately trying to find somewhere to hide. The janitor's closet -- in two seconds she's inside, pulling the door shut behind her, trying not to knock over the brooms leaning against the wall.
     

    tracer2

    Senior Member
    US English
    There are things you can do to "flavor" your writing beyond playing with synonyms. You can for example, use adverbs to describe the verb more accurately:

    Finally, she runs/rushes/dashes/races into the janitor's closet.

    She silently runs towards the janitor's closet.

    She desperately rushes towards.....

    She dashes like a prey towards.....

    Fleet of foot, she races madly towards......


    etc

    There are also many other ways you can modify your basic sentence to give it "character"
     

    99bottles

    Senior Member
    Greek
    There are things you can do to "flavor" your writing beyond playing with synonyms. You can for example, use adverbs to describe the verb more accurately:

    Finally, she runs/rushes/dashes/races into the janitor's closet.

    She silently runs towards the janitor's closet.

    She desperately rushes towards.....

    She dashes like a prey towards.....

    Fleet of foot, she races madly towards......


    etc

    There are also many other ways you can modify your basic sentence to give it "character"
    Could you please tell me whether you would replace any of these synonyms in the sentences below? (All these sentences are from scenes of pursuit.)

    She reaches the top of the stairs. She catches her breath for a second. Then she begins racing down the corridor.

    She dashes into the janitor's closet and locks the door behind her.

    Catching the pursuer off guard, she manages to push him back. Then she turns around and starts running as fast as she can.
     

    Roxxxannne

    Senior Member
    American English (New England and NYC)
    They're okay, but I see what the person on Facebook means.
    I'm being specific and describing what I see:
    She gets to the top step, takes a deep breath, and races down the corridor.
     
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