wrought havoc with

Silver

Senior Member
Chinese,Cantonese,Sichuan dialect
"This concentration of airborne firepower wrought havoc with the enemy forces."

Usually I met a phrase "wreck havoc on", and here I wonder if I have to change the "with" in my sentence with "on" ?


"This concentration of airborne firepower wrought havoc on the enemy forces."

Will the sentence be better?
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    I think your second version is fine. I think it makes as much sense to wreak havoc with something as to wreak havoc on it.
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    I don't think it is better. You have an option here and you should choose whichever preposition sounds best to you.
     

    mannoushka

    Senior Member
    Iran/Persian
    I would intuitively feel "on" (or "upon") was the better choice of preposition, especially as the sentence refers to airborne power and as the enemy forces are presumably situated on the ground.
     

    boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    I think your second version is fine. I think it makes as much sense to wreak havoc with something as to wreak havoc on it.
    Did anyone notice that, incidentally, wrought is not the past tense form of wreak? :) Wreak, as far as I know, is your average regular verb these days.

    Wrought, I think, is the past tense form of that old verb wright meaning work, make, which still lingers on in certain words like playwright and overwrought.

    But who knows if wreak and wright are not somehow related and I'm not actually wrong? :)

    Otherwise, there is no doubt that the wreak and havoc always go together.
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Did anyone notice that, incidentally, wrought is not the past tense form of wreak? :) Wreak, as far as I know, is your average regular verb these days.

    Wrought, I think, is the past tense form of that old verb wright meaning work, make, which still lingers on in certain words like playwright and overwrought.

    But who knows if wreak and wright are not somehow related and I'm not actually wrong? :)

    Otherwise, there is no doubt that the wreak and havoc always go together.
    Good point, Boozer. I hadn't even noticed the verb before you brought it up.
     

    Silver

    Senior Member
    Chinese,Cantonese,Sichuan dialect
    I read those threads and posts, and checked the word "wrought" out on those online English dictionaries, and I got sth that might be help the situation.

    Here please allow me to quote two different definitions.

    According to dictionary.reference.com
    wrought shall be the past tense of "work" and now it is archaic but if it goes with some special usages, it does work.
    1.to achieve or win by work or effort
    2.to influence or persuade, esp. insidiously
    3.to cause fermentation in.

    And in accordance with Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary, "wrought" means
    "to cause something to happen"

    I suppose here, in my sentence, if we forget "wreak havoc on", we can understand the sentence easily, but by the way, which one do you think is better in my sentence, "with" or "on"?

    Thanks
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Hello, Silvero. Just because the verb changed here, you don't need to rethink the preposition issue. Either "with" or "on" work fine
     
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