1. Rumwriter
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    Rumwriter Active Member

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    Collide

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Rumwriter, Mar 15, 2012.

    A car can collide with a tree.

    But can you collide a car into a tree? This is the sentence:

    He bellowed and I jerked my hand back, veering the car from the road, and colliding it into a tree.

    I'm not sure if colliding makes sense here. Did my character collide the car into the tree? Wouldn't that almost be like saying he hit the car into a tree? I don't think it works. Thoughts?
     
  2. CheddarCheese
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    CheddarCheese Contributing Member

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    Hi Rumwriter,

    Your sentence seems to be grammatically sound, but you're right, it does sound a little funny. I think the problem is the choice of wording. Simply, some words sound strange, and others don't, depending on where they're used.

    Try replacing the world "colliding" with something else. For example: "... veering the car from the road, and slamming it into a tree." Or "... veering the car from the road, and crashing into a tree."

    It's just a little bit of fiddling around with the sentence until it sounds a little better.

    Just my two cents. Good luck!
     
  3. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Collide can mean 'hit' or 'cause to hit', so technically you can have 'He collided the car against the tree'. The thing is, this would mean he was doing it deliberately, e.g. fooling about with a model car or trying to commit suicide. I think you are writing about an accidental collision, so no, your example doesn't work. Also, you do not collide or hit anything into a tree, unless you mean it actually goes right inside the tree, e.g. a huge hollow oak tree or something.

    You want to say something like:
    He bellowed. I jerked my hand back, and the car veered from the road. It collided with a tree/It hit a tree.
    or:
    He bellowed. I struggled to control the car, but it veered from the road to collide with/hit a tree.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    yup!... i agree that 'colliding it into' is not correct, grammatically...

    however, we do say 'he ran into' a tree, so i can't agree with mad on the 'into' bit...

    it's a poorly worded sentence altogether, though:
    'jerked my hand back' makes no sense... 'back' from where?... and how could that cause the car to veer?... better would be something like:

    He bellowed, which startled me so, that my hands left the steering wheel and the car veered off the road and into a tree.
    or
    He bellowed. I gave a start, my hands left the wheel, the car veered off the road and into a tree.
    or
    He bellowed, causing me to jerk the wheel. The car veered off the road and collided with a tree.
     
  5. art
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    art Contributing Member Contributor

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    'Collided into' is an infrequently used, and to my mind, very unhappy combination.

    [​IMG]

    'Collide' denotes a relationship between things. (A relationship characterised by physical contact).

    'Collide with...' (merely) introduces one of the parties in that relationship.

    'Collide into' is logically unsustainable, since it posits a relationship between two things (collide) prior to that relationship existing (into).
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i don't get why you quoted that part of my post, art, since i started it out with agreeing that 'collide into' is not recommended and the part you quoted is referring to 'ran into'...
     
  7. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, I didn't mention 'run', which always takes a different preposition from 'collide', anyway.

    Just to make it clearer,
    'ran/smashed/crashed into/against a tree' 'collided with/against a tree' or just 'hit a tree'
    are normal collocations.

    If you try and write:
    'collide into' or 'hit into'
    the reader registers something is off, and looks for some literal or different meaning, i.e. went right inside the tree--which you might perhaps mean, but only under special circumstances!
     
  8. art
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    art Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sorry. My mistake. I completely missed that first sentence of yours.
     
  9. lorilee
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    lorilee Member

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    "...colliding it into a tree", even if grammatically correct, sounds awkward. I would choose another word like 'smash'.

    "veering the car from the road" also makes it sound like the car wasn't on the road and was coming towards it.
    As well, I recommend removing the gerunds (-ing). They soften the action and colliding or smashing a car into a tree calls for something more substantial. I would rewrite as:

    "He bellowed. I jerked my hand back, the car veered off the road and smashed into a tree."
     

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