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The verb shoot appears often in Chinese international news. But I am unclear about the different words for it.

射击 and 开枪 seem to be the firing of a gun and 击中,射中 hitting with a weapon, but could someone clarify the difference?

My dictionary says "hit with missile". Can any of these words be used for a rocket / missile attack too or are they only applicable to handguns and sporting guns?

I also wonder why the word 中 is part of these words in the context of shooting.

Thank you very much.

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  • 枪 specifically refers to some sort of "gun", so phrases with it would be inappropriate for, say, missiles and rockets.
    – user5714
    Nov 20, 2015 at 21:44

1 Answer 1

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  • 射击 is "shooting".
  • 开枪 is "to pull the trigger (on a gun)".

So a shooting sport would be called 射击運動, and cover fire is called 掩護射击.

  • 击中 means "hitting".
  • 射中 means "hitting with a flying object".

It works with a self-propelled missile/artillery shell/arrows etc too.

The is there to to contribute the meaning of a "hit" to the terms. without is only "shooting"; with it becomes "shooting and hitting"

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    thank you so much, that helps a lot, especially the first 2 words. About the last two if you don't mind, would 射中 then be used more for arrows and long range missiles and 击中 seems to be more the direct hit of a bomb or handgun?
    – user5763
    Jun 12, 2014 at 5:15
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    Not really; 射中 basically works with anything you shoot. 擊中 doesn't have to be about missile objects; it just means a hit. You can use it for a fist, for instance.
    – Semaphore
    Jun 12, 2014 at 5:22
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    I see, I notice it being used for soccer shots too now, ty
    – user5763
    Jun 12, 2014 at 5:26
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    中(zhong4) in 击中 and 射中 is the key meaning, hitting or goal, of the words. 击 and 射 just emphasize how to archive the target.
    – thinwa
    Nov 23, 2015 at 5:01
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    @user2550062 That's basically what I said already, except 击 and 射 does not "emphasize" in any meaningful sense of the word. They provide additional info.
    – Semaphore
    Nov 23, 2015 at 5:15

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