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If tug gives meaning of "drew or pull something"

So why we would add prep to it. then would act as intransitive verb? At the time it gives meaning that it doesn't need a preposition.

  • she tugged at her sleeve to get her attention

Could we use the verb with no preposition, and still gives the same meaning? , or in another words, why do we need prep after the verb?

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If you tug something, you pull on it and it moves. You might tug a rope three times to give someone a signal.

If you tug at something, you pull on it and nothing happen. You tug at someone's sleeve, the sleeve doesn't go anywhere.

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