1

Tell me please which one of the following srntences is correct.

The player grabbed the ball and ran the opposite direction.

The player grabbed the ball and ran in the opposite direction.

I have heard a native say a similar thing without the preposition. Was it is a mistake?

1

No.2 is certainly better than No.1

You could say ran the opposite way with very similar meaning, so maybe this wasn't really how the words were meant to come out?

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