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To knot vs . to fasten

English translation: In your example...

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14:45 Aug 24, 2002
English to English translations [Non-PRO]
Tech/Engineering
English term or phrase: To knot vs . to fasten
Is there any semantical difference between to knot and to fasten? In the expression below which one should be used and why?

A wooden cross fastened/knotted with ropes

(meaning that the parts of the cross were attached together with ropes not nails or something else)

Could you also provide a couple of collocations with to knot and to fasten? Thanks!
Irina Filippova
Local time: 17:54
English translation:In your example...
Explanation:
both of your alternatives refer to the attachment of the cross to something ELSE (such as a door, a tree, a column, etc.):

"The cross was fastened/knotted TO THE WALL with ropes".

"To knot" can mean to make a knot in something ("he knotted the rope [= tied knots in it]") or to tie/connect using a knot.

In both of your alternatives, I think you have to add "...together" to indicate that you are referring to the connection of the two parts of the cross to each other and not the attachment of the whole cross to something else:

"The cross was fastened together with ropes" or "...was knotted together...". You could also say "was tied together" or "was lashed together", but TOGETHER needs to be there for clarity. If you omit "together", then the reader infers that the cross is attached to some other object.
Selected response from:

Edward L. Crosby III
Local time: 14:54
Grading comment
This is definitely one of those “hard to grade” questions for everybody contributed something interesting and very important to the discussion. Thanks to everybody!
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
5 +4differenceMarcus Malabad
4 +4In your example...
Edward L. Crosby III
4 +3Moreover...
Libero_Lang_Lab
5Apropos of "knotted"
Catherine Bolton
5The implication...cheungmo
4 +1fasten - general/ knotted - specific
Kim Metzger
4 +1knot/fasten
Michael Tovbin
4fastened is fixed, knotted is using ropeTT&V


Discussion entries: 1





  

Answers


2 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
fastened is fixed, knotted is using rope


Explanation:
fastened as in fastened to the wall,
knotted as having knots

TT&V
Native speaker of: Native in DutchDutch
PRO pts in pair: 11
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5 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
knot/fasten


Explanation:
knot is what you do with the rope itself.

fasten is the more generic word for secure. You have to qualify (if important) with what.

Michael Tovbin
United States
Local time: 16:54
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in RussianRussian
PRO pts in pair: 108

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Libero_Lang_Lab
2 mins
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6 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +4
difference


Explanation:
To fasten is the more general term,
meaning to affix or attach something to something using a tool, instrument or mechanism (rope, nail, nut and bolt, chain, lock, etc.). It can also mean 'to make secure'. In this case it's synonymous to 'to anchor, fix, moor'.

To knot is more specific in that it is used only with rope or something that can be knotted. In your example:

the wooden cross was fastened and a rope was knotted around it

the wooden cross was fastened and strung on/with knotted rope



Marcus Malabad
Canada
Local time: 23:54
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in TagalogTagalog
PRO pts in pair: 23

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Libero_Lang_Lab: good explanation
1 min

agree  Piotr Kurek
2 mins

agree  Yelena.
40 mins

agree  Jack Doughty
1 hr
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12 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
fasten - general/ knotted - specific


Explanation:
In the example you give us both verbs would be appropriate. Both indicate that the parts are joined together. Fastened does not say how they are joined but knotted does, i.e. with ropes. In fact, I would say that the more customary term is to tie pieces together rather than to knot something.

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Note added at 2002-08-24 15:05:53 (GMT)
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A wooden cross tied together with ropes.

Kim Metzger
Mexico
Local time: 16:54
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 2249

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  jerrie: together is the key word. knot/fasten/tie/hold/join...together.
1 hr
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15 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +3
Moreover...


Explanation:
"knotted with ropes" is, I have to say, not a particularly fine piece of English. There is in fact a small element of tortology here. Knot implies already that there is a rope or string or cord of some description being used.

I would also say that "knot" is not used that often as a transitive verb in the way shown in your example.
Fastened with ropes (or secured/tied with ropes) would be a much more common and logical collocation.

"Knotted" is in fact more often found in use as an adjective or passive participle meaning "full of knots e.g. a knotted piece of wool; and also metaphorically a face knotted with wrinkles.
So, my first impression when I see the collocation: knotted with ropes.. is that it could mean that the cross has lots of ropes intertwined around its surface... do you see what I mean.
By the way, I would avoid "anchored" - suggested as a synonym above - unless we are talking about a ship.



Libero_Lang_Lab
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:54
Native speaker of: English
PRO pts in pair: 137

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Fuad Yahya
3 hrs

agree  RHELLER: not elegant-perhaps she is saying that the cross was made with two sticks, tied together with rope
3 hrs

agree  John Kinory: especially with your explanatrion of knotted
4 hrs
  -> thanks folks
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54 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
Apropos of "knotted"


Explanation:
Just to add fuel to the fire: you can have a knotted rope that, in turn, is used to tie.

"Members of the Friar Minors can be identified by their currently brown, although initially gray, habits, which are tied with knotted white ropes."
(First reference -- given for the sake of accuracy.)

Nevertheless, you would certainly say "She knotted a scarf around her neck" just as you would say "She tied a scarf around her neck".
Webster's New World Dictionary (American) gives the first definition of knot as: to tie, fasten, or intertwine in or with a knot or knots; make a knot or knots in.
By this definition, you can say "knot the cross" to mean tying the cross together with a rope and then knotting the rope, albeit I think there are more elegant ways of saying it.
Could this be a difference in American/British usage?


    Reference: http://www.holycross.edu/departments/visarts/projects/kempe/...
Catherine Bolton
Local time: 23:54
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 98
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1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +4
In your example...


Explanation:
both of your alternatives refer to the attachment of the cross to something ELSE (such as a door, a tree, a column, etc.):

"The cross was fastened/knotted TO THE WALL with ropes".

"To knot" can mean to make a knot in something ("he knotted the rope [= tied knots in it]") or to tie/connect using a knot.

In both of your alternatives, I think you have to add "...together" to indicate that you are referring to the connection of the two parts of the cross to each other and not the attachment of the whole cross to something else:

"The cross was fastened together with ropes" or "...was knotted together...". You could also say "was tied together" or "was lashed together", but TOGETHER needs to be there for clarity. If you omit "together", then the reader infers that the cross is attached to some other object.

Edward L. Crosby III
Local time: 14:54
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 8
Grading comment
This is definitely one of those “hard to grade” questions for everybody contributed something interesting and very important to the discussion. Thanks to everybody!

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  jerrie: together is the key word. knot/fasten/tie/hold/join...together.
3 mins
  -> Thanks, Jerrie.

agree  Catherine Bolton: Good point!
12 mins
  -> Thanks, CB.

agree  cheungmo
13 mins
  -> Thanks!

agree  Libero_Lang_Lab
1 hr
  -> Thanks, Dan.
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1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
The implication...


Explanation:
...in "knotted" is that the knots touch or are on the object. Fastened is fastened (held fast, held in place).

A wooden cross knotted with rope is one that is covered with knotted rope (but not necessarily fastened by the same rope). For example, you could knot a cross with rope and hang it around your neck. The cross is not fastened to anything (other than the rope).
A wooden cross fastend with rope is one which is either fastened to something with rope, or for which the two pieces are held together by rope.

Consider Merriam-Webster's definition for "to knot"

1 : to tie in or with a knot
: form knots in
2 : to unite closely or intricately
: ENTANGLE
intransitive senses : to form knots

In other words: A knotted rope has knots in it, but its not necessarily tied to anything.

...and, to compare, "to fasten"
1 a : to attach especially by pinning, tying, or nailing
b : to make fast and secure
c : to fix firmly or securely
d : to secure against opening
2 : to fix or set steadily <fastened her attention on the main problem>
3 : to take a firm grip with <the dog fastened its teeth in the shoe>


cheungmo
PRO pts in pair: 27
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