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Imagine an unsurpassable abyss between you and some kind of other side. And although you know you can't possibly make it, you still jump with a mad hope to make it to the safety of that other side. When you think you will sink into this abyss some kind of force makes a bridge and rescues you. I am looking for a metaphor, simile or just an acceptable expression containing the noun bridge as the direct object of a verb.

My sentence:

When we think that we fall into the abyss, it [the force] will [____ us (with if needed ) the bridge] of its power.

Is there a verb that can be used transitively here? I thought of throw or extend or stretch something that unfolds like a bridge, but I am not sure of any of these.

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  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – tchrist
    Jul 18, 2021 at 18:58
  • Metaphorically, a bridge appearing will stop my fall, but not get me across the abyss; I still have to walk across myself. Is that what you intend? I’d rather this force provide me some rocket boots or wings but I’ll take what I can get ;)
    – ColleenV
    Jul 20, 2021 at 16:10
  • @ColleenV The bridge is definitely what I need. Something under my feet that stops the free fall and gives me the possibility of getting to the other shore. Gotta put some effort myself into this rescuing :)
    – fev
    Jul 20, 2021 at 16:15

5 Answers 5

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throw a bridge +preposition

has seen usage.

The phrase goes back at least 150 years.

enter image description here

The Brooklyn Bridge: A Cultural History


More recent usages...

North Dakota's thundering economic boom (when I was driving across the state last fall, almost all the local radio announcements seemed to be for help wanted) has revived plans to throw a bridge and oil-access highway across the river upstream from the site, now technically known as the Elkhorn Ranch Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

NYT

But is also used metaphorically.

There, the trappings of period serve to throw a bridge of continuity between the classics of yesteryear and the present, rather in the way that the Grammys always go to modern versions of 50s soul acts: Amy Winehouse, Adele, Norah Jones.

The Guardian

If Kant has already established that on the basis of our awareness of our obligations under the moral law we can be confident that we have free will and that all of the laws of nature are at least consistent with our realization of the ends commanded by the moral law, what more needs to be done in order to throw a bridge between the theoretical cognition of nature and the laws of freedom?

SEP

When he wrote this song, he was struggling to throw a bridge across his own troubled water.

Huffington Post

Quotes seen on LudwigGuru

Note that the phrase is usually accompanied with a preposition such as across or between.



I have been searching for usages going back into military history...here is one:

The Delhi Gazelte has learnt your honour for it because iwice I have written you to edition that it is in contemplation to throw a bridge of pontoons across ...

Allen's Indian Mail and Register of Intelligence for British ...

I knew I had seen it used with 'pontoon bridge' before....

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  • 1
    Yes, I could turn the sentence around to avoid repetition of the abyss: "When we think that we perish, it [the force] throws the bridge of its power over the abyss/gulf". Helpful suggestions!
    – fev
    Jul 18, 2021 at 16:42
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A very natural way to say this is to verb the noun metaphorically, to use 'bridge' directly as the verb:

How can we bridge the gap between academia and industry?

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If the bridge itself is makeshift or constructed of an unusual material or component, "form" is often used.

1836, The United Service Magazine - Volume 21 - Page 562 "Thus ten rafts would throw 250 men across a river and form a bridge of 250 feet in length, immediately after."

2008, Biologically Inspired Optimization Methods: An Introduction p.99 "In such cases, Weaver ants form a bridge using their own bodies.

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  • Hi. Did you really live and work in Italy for years? In case you are interested there is also an Italian language SE, not so busy as ELU, but still worth a visit. Bye
    – Gio
    Aug 20, 2021 at 15:10
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"Imagine an unsurpassable abyss between you and some kind of other side. And although you know you can't possibly make it, you still jump with a mad hope to make it to the safety of that other side. When you think you will sink into this abyss some kind of force makes a bridge and rescues you. I am looking for a metaphor, simile or just an acceptable expression containing the noun bridge as the direct object of a verb."

Generally, uncrossable is better. Or: unsurpassable, though that is usually for states or conditions, not physical things.

The problem is that here, in English, if you have an abyss, something can bridge the abyss or span it.

So this: When we think that we fall into the abyss, it [the force] will [____ us (with if needed ) the bridge] of its power.
would become:
When we think that we are falling into the abyss, the force will span it or bridge it with its power.

One should never forget the power of the verb in English.

Examples of span the abyss:

span the abyss is found in many texts

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    Very good suggestions. I was actually tempted to use "bridge" as a verb. I would not incline towards "span" so much. "Bridge" seems to enhance the idea of "rescuing" in my mind. Thanks for the correction. Language bias can wedge in your mind sometimes!
    – fev
    Jul 18, 2021 at 18:16
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The verb "to prop up" is a possibility.

(OALD) prop up phrasal verb, prop something up
​to prevent something from falling by putting something under it to support it

  • When we think that we fall into the abyss, it will prop us up with the bridge of its power.
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    You can only prop up something that is there. There is no bridge yet.
    – Lambie
    Jul 18, 2021 at 18:04
  • @Lambie Yes, but what is being propped is the person falling into the abyss, not the bridge itself, which is doing the propping. Still not the best choice though: props and bridges are two very different things
    – No Name
    Feb 16, 2023 at 18:19
  • 1
    @NoName You can't prop up a person falling into an abyss. You can only prop up a person before they fall into an abyss or on the ground or floor.
    – Lambie
    Feb 16, 2023 at 18:40

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