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Watching a drama I came across the sentence

犯人は背後から女性に近づき、殴りかかった

I would have translated it like:

The perpetrator came up from behind and hit the woman.

Unfortunately I am not to confident in my interpretation since I don't really understand the usage of かかる and what kind of nuance it adds to the sentence...

Thanks for your help in advance :)

5

「Verb in [連用形]{れんようけい} (continuative form) + かかる」

= "to be about to (verb)", "to almost (verb)", "to initiate the action of (verb)ing", etc.

In other words, if one only has the sentence:

「[犯人]{はんにん}は[背後]{はいご}から[女性]{じょせい}に[近]{ちか}づき、[殴]{なぐ}りかかった。」

without any context, one does not know if the striking actually took place. Maybe it happened. Maybe someone/something stopped the perpetrator from hitting her. All one knows for sure is that:

"He raised his hand against her."

Chances are that he probably did strike her because it only takes a second to do so, but that assumption does not come automatically with 「殴りかかった」, which is not the same thing as 「殴った」.

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