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a mysterious air of serenity

Discussion in 'English Only' started by mimi2, Feb 4, 2007.

  1. mimi2 Senior Member

    vietnam vietnamese
    "The house by the sea had a mysterious air of serenity about it."
    Please tell me why it is "about it". What does it mean? Is this sentence right?
    Thanks.
     
  2. hly2004 Senior Member

    chinese
    I think "about" means "surrounding", but I'm not sure.
     
  3. mimi2 Senior Member

    vietnam vietnamese
    Oh, I think you are right, hly 2004.
    but it is "round" maybe.
    Thanks.
     
  4. chepe jones Senior Member

    I agree, "surrounding."
     
  5. Song Sprite Senior Member

    English, Canada
    The house by the sea had a mysterious air of serenity about it.

    Yes, here it could mean "surrounding it". More generally, I would take it to mean "associated with it" or "concerning it".

    Other examples:

    There's something strange about it.

    The smoke curled about his face.

    He turned about and headed back the way he had come.
     
  6. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I would understand this as Song Sprite's "associated with it" or "concerning it". That is the idiomatic sense of "about it". If I said "There is something strange about Bill," I would not be talking about Bill's surroundings, but about Bill himself.

    The idiomatic sense is so strong that if I wanted to say that the house was surrounded by an air of serenity I would have to say it differently.
     

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