I've found this phrase:

The police __________ 2100 alleged up loaders using peer-to-peer.

I've got four possible answers:

  1. targeted
  2. aimed
  3. directed
  4. pointed

I've already set aside "aimed" and "directed", but I can't see the difference between the remaining ones.

I understand targeted to mean: intend (something) to move towards a certain goal and pointed to mean: indicate a place, direction, person, or thing; either spatially or figuratively. So I don't know which one is the right one.

  • 4
    In general, we ask new users to provide plenty of details in order to get the best possible answer. For example, can edit your post and provide the definitions you are using for targeted and pointed. That way, other users can understand your problem and help you see the difference.
    – Em.
    Sep 6 '16 at 6:10
  • Sorry, it is the first time I ask a question but.... is there a proper way to ask questions better than what I did?, because no one has answered it but simply changed the format... Sep 7 '16 at 10:33
  • As Max suggests, if you looked up the definitions of "targeted" and "pointed" you might be able to see which one fits best. Sep 9 '16 at 3:09
  • Welcome to ELL Silvia! You've got a great start on your question. I think it would help us to understand why "targeted" and "pointed" seem to be the same to you so that we can write a more helpful answer. If you've looked both up in a dictionary and the definitions made them sound the same it would help us to know the definitions you're using.
    – ColleenV
    Sep 9 '16 at 12:47
  • So for targeted: intend (something) to move towards a certain goal and for pointed: indicate a place, direction, person, or thing; either spatially or figuratively. So I don't know which one is the right one... Sep 12 '16 at 18:12

As you seem to know, all the choices given in the exercise (targeted, aimed, directed, and pointed) are verbs. The tricky part is which verb is the correct answer, right?

This exercise question seems to have two goals: meaning, and syntax.

A good dictionary should be handy, not just in this specific exercise question, but in other questions you may find in the future, too. Here are some relevant definitions given by Macmillan Dictionary:

target: 1 to intend or to try to attack someone or something
3 to criticize or to work against a particular person or group that you oppose
Police are specifically targeting criminal gangs.

aim: 1 to point a gun or an object you are throwing at something that you want to hit
aim at/for: He was aiming at the tree but he missed.

direct: 5 to tell or show someone the way to a place or where to go by giving them instructions or by pointing
direct someone to something: Could you direct me to the bus station?

point: 3 to aim an object at someone or something
point something at/toward someone/something: He pointed his rifle at the deer and pulled the trigger.

As you can see, we direct someone to a destination; we don't direct a destination. Saying The police directed 2100 alleged up-loaders using peer-to-peer doesn't make much sense, unless the police already have those up-loaders in custody. This rules out directed.

Let's consider aim and point next. We aim/point something at a target; we don't aim/point the target. Saying The police aimed/pointed 2100 such up-loaders doesn't make sense. (Though The police aimed at 2100 such up-loaders would.) This rules out aimed and pointed.

We have only one choice left, targeted. We target a target, and saying Police targeted 2100 such up-loaders makes sense. So, targeted is the answer.

Hope this helps!


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