turn back on? or turn back to?

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avle

Member
Chinese
Could anyone please tell me which preposition is right? Thank you.
Sample sentence:
She turned her back to?/on? when he needed help.
 
Last edited:
  • Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    You seem to have forgotten to put "him" into your sample sentence: She turned her back on him when he needed help.

    Given your context with "help", you have in mind the metaphorical meaning: she refused to help him. Use on for this.
    It is also possible to use to, but it doesn't fit that context. It has a more literal meaning: she turned around so that she was facing away from him: She turned her back to him, and that's when he stabbed her.
     

    avle

    Member
    Chinese
    You seem to have forgotten to put "him" into your sample sentence: She turned her back on him when he needed help.

    Given your context with "help", you have in mind the metaphorical meaning: she refused to help him. Use on for this.
    It is also possible to use to, but it doesn't fit that context. It has a more literal meaning: she turned around so that she was facing away from him: She turned her back to him, and that's when he stabbed her.
    Is it ok to say She turned her back on him, and that's when he stabbed her?
     

    avle

    Member
    Chinese
    My interpretation of your explanation is as the following:
    turn my back on ----1.refuse to offer help 2. show my back to him.
    turn my back to----- show my back to him.
    Did I get your point,Edinburgher?
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    No. I meant:
    turn my back on ----refuse to offer help
    turn my back to----- show my back to him

    Is it ok to say She turned her back on him, and that's when he stabbed her?
    Yes, but it would be very unusual. It would have to mean that he stabbed her because (and as soon as) she refused to help him.
     
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