Are they the same, meaning to make people feel emotional?
- Anybody can ask a question
- Anybody can answer
- The best answers are voted up and rise to the top
The standard phrase or idiom is tug at one's heartstrings:
Also, NOAD defines tug thus:
Thus, when something tugs at (pulls at) your heartstrings, it deeply affects your feelings in some way (a prick, a pang, etc).
"Tug (or 'pull') at one's heartstrings" is an established idiom. "Tug at one's heart", is not, though it is a perfectly valid expression, with the right meaning.
Your question is slightly ambiguous, because of the word "make": to be clear, it is the thing that elicits compassion (which might be a person, an action, or an event) which "tugs at your heartstrings". You wouldn't use it of the person who was doing an action, unless they elicited compassion in themselves.
"Heartstrings" is pretty well obsolete, apart from this expression (the OED has no examples since 1896, though the entry was updated in 1989).
This refers to the "Chordae tendineae" (chords of tendon) or the strings of tissue in hearts which keeps blood from filling the heart when it is trying to pump blood. This is the organic referent to the phrase.
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chordae_tendineae Also, found in my Anatomy and Physiology lecture.
protected by Rathony Feb 28 at 3:55
Thank you for your interest in this question.
Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site.
Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?