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"Won" interchangeable with "beat"?

Help on English vocab, including idioms, slang and sayings

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"Won" interchangeable with "beat"?

Postby Evadern » Sat May 23, 2009 5:22 pm

Hello there. ^_^

I had always thought that "won" shouldn't be used so liberally to replace the word "beat" where triumph over a certain thing is concerned, for example, in such a sentence:

"We just ____ them 10-5 in the football match!"
(where either "won" or "beat" fills up the blank)

People here often use the word "won" in such circumstances, but it never really made sense to me grammatically because it makes it sound like the opponents were the prize. After all, many Singaporeans often misuse words. However, doubts that this view is incorrect surfaced after the phrase "came back from a sloppy 1st quarter start and won TJC with a score of 104-58" appeared in the Latest News column of the official website for Victoria Junior College (a high-ranking institution, by the way).

So, my question is if the word "won" can be used in the mentioned circumstance.
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Re: "Won" interchangeable with "beat"?

Postby Josef » Sun May 24, 2009 1:06 am

You are correct.

You win a prize.
You win a game, tournament, match etc.

You beat an opponent.
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Re: "Won" interchangeable with "beat"?

Postby Evadern » Sun May 24, 2009 1:38 am

Thanks very much for answering my question! :D
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Re: "Won" interchangeable with "beat"?

Postby ETutor » Tue Jun 02, 2009 9:19 pm

The first sentence should read: “We just beat them 10-5 in the football match!”

“Beat” and “won” cannot be used interchangeably. You are correct in saying that using “won” in the previous sentence would imply that your opponents were the prize. You understand it correctly: one beats an opponent, and wins a prize.

The second sentence you reference from the website is incorrect, it should read: “…came back from a sloppy 1st quarter start and beat TJC…”

I hope this helps!
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Re: "Won" interchangeable with "beat"?

Postby HelloSensei » Wed Jun 03, 2009 3:06 pm

This got me thinking about similar verbs that many people may misuse thinking that they are interchangeable in any situation. Not true.. not true.

Watch out for 'steal' and 'rob' too. You 'steal' an object from someone and you can 'steal' money for example like in this sentence. The bank robber stole money.

'Rob' used as a verb has a similar meaning but does not have an association with the object or money but rather has an association with the owner of the object or money as in this sentence. He robbed the bank. or I got robbed! identify the person or organization from which the money/object was stolen.

You would probably be understood but it is incorrect to say this:
'The bank robber robbed money', 'He stole the bank' and 'I got stolen!'

Hmm even though that first one doesn't sound as strange and awkward as the others I believe it is more accurate to say, 'The bank robber stole money.'
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