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The car dashed against a tree.

The car crashed into a tree.

I have heard both expressions while listening to the news.

In certain grammar books the first sentence is considered to be wrong and it is mentioned that it is an Indianism.

Are both the sentences correct to the native speakers?

  • "Dashed against" is very frequently used to describe either waves or things floating on them hitting rocks. "The small boat was dashed against the rock and split into many pieces." To me, it implies a sudden, destructively violent impact. – Adam Oct 31 at 21:32
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Interestingly, Google Books Ngram Viewer indicates that the expression dash against was far more popular than crash into during the whole of the 19th century.

During the following century, crash into rapidly overtook dash against in popularity, rising to a high point during World War II and once again in the 21st century.

Clearly, the arrival of high-speed modern transportation systems in the 20th century led to a great deal more crashing into things than had previously been the case, and probably accounts for the difference.

I understand dash against to refer to the action of striking one object, especially a small creature, against another object, as in: He dashed the rabbit's head against a tree, killing the animal instantly. This usage, which may now be somewhat archaic, would be used in an entirely different context from crash into.

https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=dash+against%2Ccrash+into&year

  • I looked up "car dashed against" on Google News and most of the hits seemed to be from Indian publications. It makes me wonder if the OP follows news from India, since they have claimed to seen in the expression used in news reports. – J.R. Nov 1 at 11:22
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I am a native (British) English speaker and I have never heard the first expression used before. However, I can understand the message that you are trying to get across. To me, "dashed against" makes it seem like only a part on the car was in contact with the tree (such as the side scraped against it slightly), whereas "the car crashed into the tree" makes it seem like the entire car went headfirst into the tree and is completely destroyed.

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