Do these sentences mean the same thing?

A. He scratched his knee.

B. He scratched at his knee.

Thanks!

9 Answers

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  • Anonymous
    1 month ago
    Favorite Answer

    No.  Saying "at" suggests that he either couldn't leave it alone, that he scratched and scratched and scratched, or that for some reason he couldn't quite reach his knee to actually scratch it, like if he were wearing a cast or some kind of thick clothing that prevented him from actually being able to scratch it.  The "at" implies that the reason for scratching, like an itch, went unsatisfied at the point the action in the past completes.

    • San1 month agoReport

      Thanks!

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  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    A is correct. You do not need the prepositional phrase, in B, which is confusing and vague. 

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  • 1 month ago

    Nope!  A similar example which illustrates the difference would be: 

    He shot his knee. or He shot at his knee.

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  • RP
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    A is correct. B is wrong because we scratch something, but we don't scratch at it.

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  • 1 month ago

    SOMETIMES.

    He scratched his knee:

    1, he fell over and his knee was scratched;

    OR

    2, his knee was itching, so he scratched it.

    BUTHe scratched AT his knee cannot mean [1]. It usually means [2], but the word 'at' carries an extra suggestion of repetition, or failure to achieve the desired result.

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  • 1 month ago

    for me, yes. 

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  • 1 month ago

    They might, and they might not.

    'He scratched at his knee' means he scratched it himself, on purpose, probably because it was itchy.

    'He scratched his knee' could mean the same thing, or it could mean that his knee got scratched in some unspecified way, but not by him and not by another person or an animal. It's what you would say if he fell and got a scratch on his knee, or walked too close to a tree branch and got a scratch from it.

  • Expat
    Lv 6
    1 month ago

    Yes, they are the same

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  • 1 month ago

    Many may use them as the same, but "at his knee" can mean that he tried and missed or he did it multiple times in a strong manner. The exact use you need to get from the user.

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