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After searching many dictionaries and reading some articles, still I'n not able to tell these three worda apart so that I could fill in the blank below! Please have a look on the following sentences and let me know which choice is more suitable for each blank:

1 - During the competition, my rival.............hard my leg with his stick!
2 - During the competition, my rival ............ his stick to my leg!

a) hit
b) beat
c) struck

  • 1
    The past tense of is beat, not beated (the past participle is beaten, as used in passive / adjectival contexts such as We were beaten by a better team, Souffles are made using beaten eggs). But it's probably not suitable for your context, since it implies repeatedly and deliberately struck/hit. I advise sticking to hit, if only because it's far more common than struck. Note that it's He hit my leg hard, not He hit hard my leg. – FumbleFingers Apr 24 at 14:57
  • Sorry for the childish mistake; I have changed it @FumbleFingers. ;) – A-friend Apr 24 at 15:54
  • @FumbleFingers I'm going to imply "only one hit" rather than "repeatedly hit". – A-friend Apr 24 at 15:57
  • Apart from the fact that beat implies repetition, I suspect you won't "learn" much from this particular word choice question. Alternative verbs include (but aren't limited to) bang, bash, clout, smash, smack, thump, wallop, but there won't be universal agreement on possible different nuances conveyed by any given choice there. – FumbleFingers Apr 24 at 16:25
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  1. The past tense of beat is beat, not beated.

  2. Your first sentence is unidiomatic, because the adverb hard does not normally come between the verb and its object.

  3. All three will do in your first sentence (though the meaning varies slightly), and none of them will do in your second sentence.

  4. Using beat in your first sentence implies that the rival hit your leg repeatedly. Hit and struck do not imply that (though they do not exclude the possibility). The only difference I can find betwen hit and struck here is that struck is more formal: people wouldn't say it in ordinary speech.

  • Thank you @Colin Fine; just please tell me about ilusing the simple verb "hit" along with a direct object! Would it sound normal to say: "My rival hit his stick to/onto my leg"? – A-friend Apr 24 at 16:10
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    No, @A-friend, it wouldn't. It would be understandable, but not normal: the object of hit is the thing that you strike, not the thing you strike it with. – Colin Fine Apr 24 at 16:18
  • Thank you very much @Colin Fine; great answer. – A-friend Apr 24 at 16:56
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Both hit and struck work well. Hit is slightly less formal: I might be inclined to tell my wife that a car hit another car, but I would tell the police the car struck the other car.

Beat (no "-ed") usually suggests a series of strikes. For example, "He beat his head against the wall" or would mean he hit the wall with his head several times, but the exact number is not important. Likewise, to say "The wife beat her cheating husband" means she hit, kicked, or threw things at him for a few minutes.

There are some other small changes (or "tweaks") you might make:

During the competition, my rival hit my leg hard with his stick.

During the competition, my rival struck my leg with his stick.

Adding to, like sentence 1 of your example, is unusual for violent verbs like "hit", "beat", or "struck." In fact, adding "to" can suggest gentleness or exactness: you might say, "The mother pressed her nose to her daughter's head," or "The electrician touched sensor to the live wire."

  • Point taken @Dan Oliver; just would it sound normal to say: "My rival hit his stick onto my leg"? I mean does the verb "hit" take any direct object like this sentence? – A-friend Apr 24 at 16:08

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