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just like a hungry wolf would devour a/its prey Options
Reiko07
Posted: Saturday, April 3, 2021 2:09:00 PM

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(1) Jack ate steak ravenously, just like a hungry wolf would devour a prey.

(2) Jack ate steak ravenously, just like a hungry wolf would devour its prey.

Question: Which is correct?

thar
Posted: Saturday, April 3, 2021 2:12:18 PM

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'a prey' is incorrect.
It is not a singular noun by itelf.

It would be 'a prey animal'.

'Prey' is uncountable - the concept of what it is that you hunt and eat.

Therefore it does work with 'its prey' = the thing that it is trying to catch/has just caught.

Reiko07
Posted: Saturday, April 3, 2021 2:20:16 PM

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Thanks, thar. 😊

Bathcoup
Posted: Sunday, April 4, 2021 4:06:01 PM
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A predator can search for, select, pursue and kill its prey (another animal). After it has made a kill, why can't the predator eat (devour) its prey? After the killing, its prey is its kill.
Reiko07
Posted: Sunday, April 4, 2021 10:26:49 PM

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Thanks, Bathcoup. 😊

I now know (2) is unnatural.

Sarrriesfan
Posted: Monday, April 5, 2021 2:06:41 AM

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2 isn’t unnatural many people would use “its prey” rather than “its kill”, they can be treated in this context as synonyms.

Reiko07
Posted: Monday, April 5, 2021 2:20:21 AM

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Sarrriesfan wrote:
2 isn’t unnatural many people would use “its prey” rather than “its kill”, they can be treated in this context as synonyms.

Thanks, Sarrriesfan. 😊

A native AE speaker advised me to use the following sentence:

(3) Jack ate his steak ravenously, like a hungry wolf devouring its prey.

I think this sentence is far better than (2).

Bathcoup
Posted: Tuesday, April 6, 2021 5:35:33 AM
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(2) is OK as Sarrriesfan pointed out. - Their actions were in comparison, with emphasis on amount, speed.
(3) is grammatical, also acceptable. - Jack (eating ...) was like a hungry wolf ..., also suggesting the way (e.g. very messy) they ate.

By "a native AE speaker", you don't mean a descendant of north American aboriginals?
Write Edge
Posted: Tuesday, April 6, 2021 6:30:28 AM

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Location: Singapore, Singapore
This one is correct- Jack ate his steak ravenously, like a hungry wolf devouring its prey.
Reiko07
Posted: Tuesday, April 6, 2021 5:34:44 PM

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Write Edge wrote:
This one is correct- Jack ate his steak ravenously, like a hungry wolf devouring its prey.

Thanks, Write Edge.

Reiko07
Posted: Tuesday, April 6, 2021 5:38:02 PM

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Bathcoup wrote:
(2) is OK as Sarrriesfan pointed out. - Their actions were in comparison, with emphasis on amount, speed.
(3) is grammatical, also acceptable. - Jack (eating ...) was like a hungry wolf ..., also suggesting the way (e.g. very messy) they ate.

By "a native AE speaker", you don't mean a descendant of north American aboriginals?


Thanks, Bathcoup.

By "a native AE speaker", I meant "a native speaker of American English."

Bathcoup
Posted: Sunday, April 18, 2021 12:13:49 PM
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Write Edge wrote:
This one is correct- Jack ate his steak ravenously, like a hungry wolf devouring its prey.


When I first read the above post a few days ago, I couldn’t help feeling something blowing in my face - it’s the air of authority from the comment! I wasn't sure that I wanted to spend more time on this thread. Now a prank by the same poster’s https://forum.thefreedictionary.com/postst207930_Which-is-correct-.aspx
brought me back and I thought I may as well say a few words.

The sentence "Jack ate his steak ravenously, like a hungry wolf devouring its prey."
has serious problems. First, how would you feel if Jack is your friend, a family member, or indeed yourself? Second, the sentence suggests “a wolf devouring its prey” is a familiar sight but in reality, they usually share their prey, typically a large ungulate like a deer. (Strictly speaking congruence requires Jack ate a cow raw.) Third, it’s a "good" example of pleonasm. You see on words like “ravenously”, “hungry” or “devouring” in the phrase “eat like a pig” yet it conveys the intended meaning with precision.

In a precious post I said Sentence (2) is slightly better as it sounds a bit less personal because of its structure and length, and “would” signifies that “a single wolf devouring” is an imagined scene. People discuss grammar on this forum; Sensitivity is not an issue. Now because Jack’s steak had a fixed size, the focus must be on his table manner. Therefore, I'd suggest: "Jack ate his steak like a wild dog."
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