turn away vs turn around

komarovsky

Senior Member
Spanish - Spain
What is the difference between both verbs?

For instance, I understand both "I turned around/away when she started to undress" are correct, but what is the difference in meaning?
 
  • Dretagoto

    Senior Member
    Inglés británico
    The Newt is correct, but I would also add that "turn away" can have nuance. While "turn around" would typically mean simply the physical movement, "turn away" suggests purposeful movement (physical or metaphorical) to avoid seeing something that you shouldn't, or don't want, to see.
     

    taraa

    Senior Member
    Persian
    What is the difference between these two, please?

    She turned away and stared out of the window.
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    She turned away and stared out of the window.
    The assumption here is that she still stood in the same place, but looked in a different direction. She probably turned her whole body around, moving her feet, but "turned away" could just mean her face.

    If a person goes away, they move somewhere else, they don't merely turn their head or body.
     

    taraa

    Senior Member
    Persian
    "Turned around" suggests a turn of roughly 180 degrees; "turned away" could just be far enough not to be able to see her.
    Sorry The Newt, can I ask what you say " could just be far enough not to be able to see her"? Do you mean it could have another meaning for example we could still be able to see her?
     

    The Newt

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Sorry The Newt, can I ask what you say " could just be far enough not to be able to see her"? Do you mean it could have another meaning for example we could still be able to see her?
    "Turning away" is less specific and doesn't tell us how far the person turns; "turning around" suggests a 180-degree turn (roughly).
     

    taraa

    Senior Member
    Persian
    "Turning away" is less specific and doesn't tell us how far the person turns; "turning around" suggests a 180-degree turn (roughly).
    I read in the thread below that: "Turn away from" a person or thing means to turn until you are not facing that person or thing.
    So if the person isn't facing that person, so shouldn't this be very specific and we can't see her, please?
     

    pob14

    Senior Member
    American English
    It’s not specific because I can “turn away” until you are just barely out of sight, or until I am facing directly away from you, or anything in between.

    Crossposted and in agreement with tunaafi.
     

    ain'ttranslationfun?

    Senior Member
    US English
    I read in the thread below that: "Turn away from" a person or thing means to turn until you are not facing that person or thing.
    So if the person isn't facing that person, so shouldn't this be very specific and we can't see her, please?
    You needn't rotate your body 180° (although you could of course) to turn (or avert) your (your eyes) from something; you can simply turn your head, for instance, or change the direction of your eyes.

    [As the previous two posters have written.]
     
    Last edited:

    taraa

    Senior Member
    Persian
    The point of turning away is that you end up not looking directly at the other person. You may or may not turn 180 degrees.
    It’s not specific because I can “turn away” until you are just barely out of sight, or until I am facing directly away from you, or anything in between.

    Crossposted and in agreement with tunaafi.
    Thank you both for the good explanations. :)
    That's why that we should say "turn your back" here. But "turn your back" is strange it's like "spin your back" and doesn't make sense, why, please?
     

    taraa

    Senior Member
    Persian
    You needn't rotate your body 180° (although you could of course) to turn (or avert) your (your eyes) from something; you can simply turn your head, for instance, or change the direction of your eyes.
    Aha do you mean "turn away" can just be "you can simply turn your head" or "change the direction of your eyes.", please?
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Turn has many definitions. You should read all of them, but here are some that are apropos.
    turn - WordReference.com Dictionary of English
    1 to (cause to) move around on an axis or about a center; rotate: [~ + object]to turn a wheel.[no object]The wheel wouldn't turn.

    3 to reverse the position or placement of: [~ + object]to turn a page.[no object]The suspect turned and began to fire his gun.
    4 to direct, aim, or set toward: [~ + object]He turned his car toward the center of town.[no object]The car turned to the right and stopped.

    You cannot spin your back - it's entirely attached to your front without any sort of joint.
     

    ain'ttranslationfun?

    Senior Member
    US English
    You might "rotate" or "swivel" your back, meaning you twist — but not violently! — your spinal column to the right or to the left from your pelvis (as oposed to "bending" your back forwardsor bckwards).
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    If "turn" itself mean "reverse", why should we use "around"? Since "turn around" means "turn 180" that is the same as "turn=reverse".
    I have no idea why the "suspect" sentence is given as an example of this definition rather than definition (2).

    Turn can mean
    2. to (cause to) move around or partly around​
    It does not matter about any other meanings "turn" might have. Because "turn" can mean to move partly around, if you want to make it clear that the turn was 180 degrees in a situation where there could be any ambiguity, then you need to add "around".
     

    taraa

    Senior Member
    Persian
    I have no idea why the "suspect" sentence is given as an example of this definition rather than definition (2).

    Turn can mean
    2. to (cause to) move around or partly around​
    It does not matter about any other meanings "turn" might have. Because "turn" can mean to move partly around, if you want to make it clear that the turn was 180 degrees in a situation where there could be any ambiguity, then you need to add "around".
    I understand. Thank you, Uncle Jack.
    Sorry isn't "to turn a page" ambiguous like the "suspect" sentence, please?
     
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