I don't know what "shooting" means in this sentence:

This is where the rubber meets the road. Let's start by building a page that just spits out our DB entries in a mildly pretty form. Here's the HTML we're shooting to generate:

(Code snippet follows)

Could anybody enlighten me?

I met the sentence above in this tutorial and I think "intending", "aiming" and "would like to" are all good replacement in that context.


In the case the meaning is "Intending" I wouldn't use "shooting" in this case.

"Here's the HTML we're intending to generate."

would sound better.

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    Or better, "here's the HTML we intend to generate." – Eric Tjossem Jul 30 '14 at 19:50

You could also use aiming.

Here's the HTML we're aiming to generate.

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    +1 "shooting" is an unusual phrase in this context, but "aiming" wouldn't be - and the answer implies the path by which the former might arise. – Bob Tway Jul 30 '14 at 9:47
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    Maybe it's colloquial but I've heard it my whole life. Doesn't sound the least bit unusual to me – Kevin Aug 11 '15 at 12:26

"Here's the HTML we would like to generate."

"Shooting" in this case means "trying" (i.e. if you shoot at a target, your are trying to hit it, but you may not). By "shooting" for a goal, you are trying to reach it, but are not certain you will ("I'm shooting to leave here by 4:30, but the boss may ask me to stay late.").

In this case, there may be some reason the person believes that the goal may not be accomplished.

Or they are just using poor phrasing to mean "This is the HTML we are expecting to generate".

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    I think "striving" would be another good synonym. – J.R. Feb 17 '15 at 8:13

It's a malformation of the apparently American Idiom: "shooting for". I've never heard it phrased that way, but I have heard "shooting for" in Canada and the western US.


I am a native speaker from the UK with a lot of exposure to US English (work in IT) and I have never heard this expression before.

I would guess it is either a typo or a slip of the tongue. The person could have English as a second language and 'shooting' in his/her language could be a standard phrase. I have experienced that a lot in my time I Germany. German phrases will be translated directly into English and used as if it were the Queen's English ;-)

As another poster suggested, 'aiming' might be a better word but 'shooting' conveys a different meaning and I could only guess what was really meant. It could be that 'shooting' sounds better than just 'aiming' - more pro-active!

See comments below

Here's the HTML we're planning to generate...

  • Although true that many Germans translate word-for-word, I doubt that that particular sentence is from German origin. – Em1 Jul 30 '14 at 7:19
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    FWIW, it's quite a common US "English" idiom – GreenAsJade Jul 30 '14 at 12:33
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    @GreenAsJade - you're right. I found this in a newspaper article: torontosun.com/2014/07/27/canucks-shooting-to-colonize-mars. Guess you learn something everyday :-) So, in this case, shooting means 'planning'. – paul Jul 30 '14 at 13:02
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    The Americans do love their shooting ;) – GreenAsJade Jul 30 '14 at 13:10
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    I'm American and using the term shooting in this way is quite common in colloquial usage. – UnhandledExcepSean Jul 30 '14 at 18:32

To be strictly pedantic/semantic, aiming and shooting are two different things. Aiming is only targeting, shooting is targeting and pulling the trigger. In the context of the tutorial, the author is not only aiming or intending, he's actually trying to help the reader make the attempt.

There are actually two cliches in the that paragraph ("rubber meets the road" and "shooting to ..."). The author adds cliches elsewhere, like "I know this isn't rocket science" and while I admit, it does make for interesting reading, in the end, to be clear in a tutorial, cliches are probably best replaced with concise instruction, especially if the target audience is not all from the same cultural background.

  • Interesting analogy, but aiming – when used figuratively – has come to mean "have the intention of achieving" (NOAD). – J.R. Feb 17 '15 at 8:16

Shooting (other than indescriminate) requires that you are aiming at something and that's exactly what the phrase means and can also be said in English - You're aiming to generate the HTML. In this case aiming

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