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Is "deflected to" grammatical? I think it is grammatical, but I am not sure if it means what I mean.

For example:

He deflected the bullet to the shooter's face.

He deflected the bullet back to the shooter's face.

I wonder if using "back" makes sense here, because the bullet comes from the firearm. Is there a better way to say this or is "deflected to" alright?

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    What do you think it means, and what do you intend it to mean?
    – user3395
    Aug 11, 2019 at 15:48
  • The bullet was deflected because it hit the wall instead of the target.
    – Lambie
    Aug 11, 2019 at 16:55
  • It is grammatical, but none of the Lexico examples for the usage of deflect mentions where to. Usually, you would deflect a bullet away from something, the important thing being that the target was not hit, not where it went. If the bullet hits the person who fired it, that is not a deflection, which is usually only enough so that it misses the target. Do you want the words "rebound" or "ricochet"? Aug 11, 2019 at 17:39

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Merriam-Webster provides this definition for deflect.

: to turn (something) aside especially from a straight course or fixed direction

In other words, to deflect is to cause something to change direction. In your example, "to" is used to signal to where, and in what direction, the bullet was deflected. We know the bullet was deflected (from somewhere unknown) to the shooter's face, and we can infer from the second sentence the bullet came from around the shooter's face.

Even though we can assume the bullet came from the firearm, it's implied that it's going back in the direction of the shooter.

He deflected the bullet (coming from the direction of the shooter) back to the shooter's face.

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  • A person does not usually deflect a bullet unless they are holding a steel shield in front of their face, for example.
    – Lambie
    Aug 11, 2019 at 16:57
  • For a bullet I would use ricochet. Aug 11, 2019 at 17:01
  • @LucianSava Generally yes, but that's an intransitive verb and as such doesn't fit here.
    – user3395
    Aug 11, 2019 at 17:30

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