scrape vs scratch

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Senior Member
Tunisia - French
Dear members,

Would you please tell me the difference between:

Scraping one’s car:

Scratching one’s car:

Which one is worse ?

Thank you for your help.
  • chat9998

    Senior Member
    English, US
    Hi Hela,

    Hmmm, that's a tough one! I'm going to say that "scratching" is probably the worse of the two. Generally, a scratch on a car would be more extreme than a scrape. A scrape would probably involve leaving a scuff mark, but probably only temporary - but a scratch would actually remove paint, and leave a permanent mark. However, if someone says something like, "I need to go scrape my car [off]," and they live in an area that gets snow/ice in the winter, then they may just mean that they are removing the snow from their car. In that case, scrape would not involve any actual damage to the car.

    Hope that helps, let me know if you need further clarification!
    God bless,


    Senior Member
    Australia English
    In a scratch the area of contact is small.
    A nail, a needle, a comb, a rake &c, would leave scratches.
    How did you scratch your car? I drove too close to a thorn tree.

    In a scrape the area of contact is wide.
    I scraped my car against a pillar in the parking station.

    You can't say in advance which is worse.
    It's possible to have a very deep scratch, or a superficial scratch
    or just a light scrape, or a very serious scrape.


    Senior Member

    I think that a scratch is linear, whereas a scrape is more two dimensional i.e. occurring over an area, and so, more extensive than a scratch, and dearer to fix.

    They both have to be dragged along the side of your car for them to show.


    Senior Member
    English, North America
    I agree that you can't really tell which is worse until you know the magnitude of the scrape or scratch. I would offer, however, that when someone comes through an accident or harrowing experience unscathed, the expression is "came through without a scratch." To me, this implies that the smallest injury would be a scratch.
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