Oh, Shoot!

Shoot” is such a simple word. However, it’s really common to hear someone say something like this:

  • Look, the MPSJ officer is so cruel. He shot at the dog, and the dog died!

At one glance, the sentence looks perfectly fine but upon closer examination, you’d find that it is not. Before we proceed, let’s look at the definition.

shoot (v.) = to fire a bullet from a gun to injure or to kill

This is where the tricky part comes in. If you add the preposition “at“, the meaning changes.

shoot at (phr. verb) = to give a warning shot

As you can see, when you use “shoot at“, there is no intention of causing injury or fatality to anyone. Check out these sentences and see the difference.


  1. The police shot the robber (=the robber was either injured or died)
  2. The police shot at the robber (=the robber got a warning shot but he was not even hurt)

So, would you rather be shot, or shot at… or worse still, shot down? 😛


Posted on November 8, 2009, in Word Power and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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