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Can someone sneeze a camera, or should they sneeze AT the camera?

This is an extract from an IELTS practice test. Because the dictionary says "sneeze at smt", I had to put another word from the text, i.e. "installed", which fits better grammatically. However, I then suddenly found in the answer keys that the correct answer is "sneezed".

It is obvious by the context that the question is focusing on sneezing at a camera, but the grammatical structure confused me.

Please could you comment?

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    How many dictionaries have you checked in to see what they say about whether 'sneeze' is used transitively? Commented Apr 24, 2014 at 9:10
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    This may help with that transitive use. I would, however, assume that since no test is infallible, there may be a typo (or a missed word) in the test question. Your assumptions seem to be correct (google tells me it is unlikely that someone sneezed the whole camera into the probe), I would not worry about it too much :)
    – oerkelens
    Commented Apr 24, 2014 at 9:23
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  • @mplungjan: I should have added during the Surveyor project. :)
    – oerkelens
    Commented Apr 24, 2014 at 9:46
  • Thank you everyone for your valuable comments. @EdwinAshworth - I've checked only the Longman dictionary. But it has quite a lot collocations and examples. oerkelens - I would not worry about it if it would not change the way I answered the question: because of the missing preposition, I had to select different words from the text to put into the answer (actually, -ing word)
    – Meglio
    Commented May 1, 2014 at 16:23

1 Answer 1

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This is almost certainly a typo for

During assembly of the Surveyor 3 probe, someone _____ on a TV camera.

It's actually a fairly famous incident in NASA history:

Sneeze

From Wharton, Life at the Limits

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  • Yes, it looks like everyone agrees it's a typo.
    – Meglio
    Commented May 1, 2014 at 16:25

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