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    English missing

    grope for an explanation (meaning)

    Subject

    grope for an explanation (meaning)

    Sources

    GEORGE: Emily, would you like an ice-cream soda, or something, before you go home?

    EMILY: Well, thank you. ....I would.

    (They come into the drugstore and seat themselves on the stools.)

    STAGE MANAGER (as MR. MORGAN): Hello, George. Hello Emily. What'll you have? Why, Emily Webb, what've you been crying about?

    GEORGE (He gropes for an explanation.): She ... she just got an awful scare, Mr. Morgan. She almost got run over by that hardware store wagon. Everybody always says that Tom Huckins drives like a crazy man.

    ....

    (Thornton Wilder, Our Town)

    Hello, there

    Comment

    Please, what does gropes for mean in this context? I think it means something like he looks for - but what is the distinction? Can I use look for instead in this context? Your help is much appreciated. Thanks in advance.

    Authorkeeblerelf (908281)  28 Nov 22, 13:37
    Comment
    #1Author buttermaker (826321) 28 Nov 22, 13:39
    Comment

    Or, easily found in Merriam-Webster, including an example sentence that uses it almost in the same way!

    https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/grope


    keeblerelf, do you even try to do your own research?


    #2Author hbberlin (420040) 28 Nov 22, 13:47
    Comment
    #3Author no me bré (700807) 28 Nov 22, 13:59
    Comment

    @ #2: keeblerelf, do you even try to do your own research?


    Yes, hbberlin, I do so.

    But you didn't answer the whole query. What's the distinction between between grope for and look for and can I use look for instead in this context without changing the meaning? What does grope for express in this context? Please help. Thank you.

    #4Authorkeeblerelf (908281)  28 Nov 22, 14:00
    Comment

    grope

    search uncertainly for (a word or answer) in one's mind.

    "she was groping for the words which would express what she thought"


    grope for something

    to try hard to find the right words to say or the right solution to a problem but without any real idea of how to do this

     She hesitated, seeming to grope for words.

    https://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/grope-...


    to look for something blindly or uncertainly

    grope for the right words

    https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/grope


    look for somebody/something

    1 to try to find something that you have lost, or someone who is not where they should be

    SYN search for

     I’m looking for Steve – have you seen him?

     Detectives are still looking for the escaped prisoner.

    https://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/look-for

    #5Author CM2DD (236324) 28 Nov 22, 14:06
    Comment

    Verstehst du die englischen Definitionen?

    Wenn ja, müsste es eigentlich klar sein.

    #6Author penguin (236245) 28 Nov 22, 14:07
    Comment
    If you read the links supplied by others and are unable to work out what „to grope for“ means and whether it means exactly the same as „to look for“, I doubt any explanation given by us will be understood by you…
    #7Author Dragon (238202) 28 Nov 22, 14:08
    Comment

    Dragon, es bringt wirklich nichts.

    #8Author penguin (236245) 28 Nov 22, 14:09
    Comment
    Das wollte ich mit #7 zum Ausdruck bringen…
    #9Author Dragon (238202) 28 Nov 22, 14:11
    Comment

    @ #5: Thank you very much.


    In this context I'd go for....


    grope for something

    to try hard to find the right words to say or the right solution to a problem but without any real idea of how to do this

     She hesitated, seeming to grope for words.


    ....or am I wrong ? In this case I would even think of try frantically to find the right words.


    That's my problem, actually - there are many possibilities - but what meaning fits the context?!

    #10Authorkeeblerelf (908281)  28 Nov 22, 14:45
    Comment

    what meaning fits the context?

    The ones in #5 fit this context.


    Do you know what "grope for something" means literally? Imagine someone doing that, but the thing they are trying to find is words. Here's a picture to help you visualise it.

    #11Author CM2DD (236324) 28 Nov 22, 16:04
    Comment

    @ #11 and #10/#5: 


    #11:The ones in #5 fit this context.


    #10: In this context I'd go for....


    grope for something

    to try hard to find the right words to say or the right solution to a problem but without any real idea of how to do this

     She hesitated, seeming to grope for words.


    ....or am I wrong ? In this case I would even think of try frantically to find the right words.


    That's my problem, actually - there are many possibilities - but what meaning fits the context?!


    Thank you very much for your reply. (#5)There are several different meanings given in #5. Do you think all those meanings fit the context or do you think one of them fits best? I think you have to opt for one of them.


    #12Authorkeeblerelf (908281)  28 Nov 22, 18:56
    Comment

    #12 The definitions of "grope for something" in #5 are all describing the same meaning. I selected them specially for you :)

    So do you get what "grope for something" means literally? Can you see the connection to the figurative meaning?

    #13Author CM2DD (236324) 28 Nov 22, 19:59
    Comment

    @ #13: Once again, thank you very much for your post #5 and I also see the connection to the figurative meaning. But in my opinion and in my understanding and judgement there are different meanings of grope for in your post #5. Of course, as a non-native speaker have to accept your statement. Thank you very much indeed.


    And thank you all for helping me.

    #14Authorkeeblerelf (908281)  28 Nov 22, 20:29
    Comment

    I guess you'd have to say what you thought the difference was for me to understand what you meant.

    #15Author CM2DD (236324) 28 Nov 22, 20:38
    Comment

    All right then: I'd say that blindly and uncertainly are different from hard. Blindly and uncertainly express uncertainty and helplessness in my opinion. Hard expresses something that's difficult to do or the like. Therefore, I'd prefer try hard or, as I've said, try frantically in this context. But, for certain, this is a German feeling or impression I get reading this text.

    Thank you.

    #16Authorkeeblerelf (908281)  28 Nov 22, 21:00
    Comment

    Du hast bei "try hard" in #5 den hinteren, von CM2DD extra auch gefetteten Teil vergessen.


    "try hard but without any real idea of how to do this" - da steckt die von dir vermisste Unsicherheit und Hilflosigkeit.

    #17Author Jalapeño (236154) 28 Nov 22, 21:19
    Comment

    Nevertheless, I'd say there is a distinction. Maybe, try desperately or frantically fits best here.

    #18Authorkeeblerelf (908281)  29 Nov 22, 00:09
    Comment

    I give up.

    #19Author hbberlin (420040) 29 Nov 22, 09:45
    Comment

    The definitions in #5 are all definitions of the same meaning of "grope for something", as you can see from the fact that they use the same example phrase "grope for words".


    Let's say I am trying to understand the term "idiotensicher" in German, in the phrase "eine idiotensichere Formulierung".

    I look it up in various dictionaries and I find:


    - leicht verständlich, sodass nichts falsch gemacht werden kann. https://de.wiktionary.org/wiki/idiotensicher

    - so, dass nichts falsch gemacht werden kann, dass es jeder versteht https://www.dwds.de/wb/idiotensicher

    - so beschaffen, dass bei der Handhabung o. Ä. kaum etwas falsch gemacht werden kann https://www.duden.de/rechtschreibung/idiotensicher


    "Leicht verständlich" does not mean the same thing as "So, dass es jeder versteht". And the third definition doesn't mention people understanding it at all.

    So can I rephrase "idiotensicher" as "hoffentlich gut zu verstehen"?

    #20Author CM2DD (236324) 29 Nov 22, 10:26
    Comment

    Thank you. Yes, I know what you mean. You want to say Hoffentlich ist es gut zu verstehen or ...gut verständlich? Idiotensicher is different from hoffentlich gut zu verstehen in this context. In some respect, it has a slightly derogatory meaning in this context here. Thank you once again: I'm a bit slow-witted, I'm afraid, but I understand it now - thank you.

    #21Authorkeeblerelf (908281)  29 Nov 22, 11:02
    Comment

    You're welcome.

    #22Author CM2DD (236324) 29 Nov 22, 11:14
     
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