Please comsider the following example: Imagine a mother whose husband has been murdered. She is talking to the killer regarding the revenge! She says:

  • One day my son will be grown up and avenge his fathers death ... you! (The mother says to the killer)
  • a) from

  • b) on

Which one of the abovementioned choices would be more natural in this sense?

The structure on most of the dictionaries is just "avenge sb/sth", but I need to know how a native would say the rest!

Please note that I am asking this question because I have my doubts if in English people use the verb avenge in the same way as we use and I want to make sure in this respect!


"Avenge" needs no preposition and has no indirect object. It has only, as the direct object, the reason to be avenged:

One day my son will be grown up and avenge his father's death.

You may be thinking of other verbs with a similar meaning:

One day my son will be grown and revenge himself on you for his father's death.

One day my son will be grown and take (his) revenge on you for his father's death.

One day my son will be grown and be revenged on you for his father's death.

One day my son will be grown and have (his) vengeance on you for his father's death.

In general, when you use "avenge", the target is understood from the context. For example, in the 2012 movie The Avengers, Tony Stark says to Loki:

There's no version of this where you come out on top ... 'Cause if we can't protect the earth you can be damn well sure we'll avenge it

While Stark doesn't explicitly say who they'll take vengeance on, it's clear he's threatening Loki (if for no other reason than to buy time to get his backup Iron Man suit ready).

  • Thank you very much @andrew, but as far as I am concerned, speaker by using avenge is concerned about justice to be done. While revenge is more personal, less concerned with justice and more about retaliation by inflicting harm. Do you agree with my taking on the matter? If yes, then I guess I have to be more specific about the intention of raising the issue by the mother in my scenario! However, the most important question is that whether using the three choices: avenge or revenge or the noun vengence will indicate the same message or it may sound wierd in different cases? – A-friend Mar 10 at 8:36
  • 1
    @A-friend Well, the movie is named "The Avengers", so the writers kinda have to put the verb "avenge" somewhere in the script. "The Justice Seekers" doesn't have quite the same ring to it. Nevertheless, regardless of any subtext, avenge means exactly what it means. Tony Stark is saying that their fight with Loki is personal -- that now they have a personal vendetta against Loki. – Andrew Mar 10 at 17:44

Just: One day my son will be grown up and avenge his fathers death. That makes the most sense, from and on make the sentence more confusing. In the English language, just saying: One day my son will be grown up and avenge his fathers death is a full sentence. But another way to say it is: One day my son will be a grown up and avenge his fathers death.

  • 3
    @JasonBassford It doesn't sound natural in British English, because the phrase "a grown up" is mostly used by children, or by adults speaking to children, and presumably both the speaker and the killer are adults. en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/grown-up – alephzero Mar 9 at 19:32
  • In keeping with the "heroic" tone of the sentence, perhaps "One day, when he comes of age, my son will avenge his father's death" might fit well? – Peter Hull Mar 9 at 21:45
  • @alephzero It's possible it's a regionalism. From my perspective, all grown up sounds like something an adult would say to a child. Similar to the child saying when I grow up, I want to be an astronaut. (Whereas, you'll be a grown up or you'll be an adult sounds more adult.) Also, grown up, as in I'm grown up, can refer to maturity rather than actual age. You can say to an adult Oh, grow up! So, by using the article you're specifying the noun rather than an adjectival or adverbial phrase. – Jason Bassford Supports Monica Mar 9 at 21:54

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