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on Broadway / in Broadway

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Grammar / Gramática Español-Inglés' started by CuervoGold, Apr 26, 2014.

  1. CuervoGold Senior Member

    Spain
    Spanish
    Hi everybody!

    I would like to know why the preposition "on" is used in these lyrics, instead of the preposition "in", and what the Spanish translation would be:

    THEY SAY THE NEON LIGHTS ARE BRIGHT ON BROADWAY

    THEY SAY THE WOMEN TREAT YOU FINE ON BROADWAY

    THEY SAY THAT I WON'T LAST TOO LONG ON BROADWAY


    Why "on" and not "in"? What's the difference?

    Thank you!
     
  2. inib

    inib Senior Member

    La Rioja, Spain
    British English
    I would guess that it's because Broadway is a street name in your context, and if I'm not mistaken, Americans use "on" with streets/roads/avenues etc.
    However, I know a town in England also called Broadway. In that case, we'd definitely say, for instance, that we spent a day in Broadway.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2014
  3. levmac

    levmac Senior Member

    No longer here.
    Concuerdo. Los americanos prefieren "on" con "street". Los demás utilizamos tanto "in" como "on" dependiendo de a) el contexto y b) la imagen que queremos crear.
     
  4. Wandering JJ

    Wandering JJ Senior Member

    England
    British English
    I hadn't realised that size matters. There was so much traffic that I was stuck in Oxford Street / on the M25 / on the Great North Road.
     
  5. inib

    inib Senior Member

    La Rioja, Spain
    British English
    Yes, that's true for Brits. Would an American say in Oxford Street or on Oxford Street? Or maybe both/either?
    EDIT: On second thoughts, I'm not so sure it's got anything to do with size. I'd also say "on the Highlington Road" and it's hardly wide enough for a single car! I just use in for streets and on for roads, in the context we're discussing here.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2014
  6. levmac

    levmac Senior Member

    No longer here.
    ? Size doesn't matter. It would be "in Broadway" only because it's a town, like "in Buffalo" or "in Newark".

    In British English, I'd say there are two considerations:

    1) Whether you are thinking of yourself as being in the vicinity, or on the surface. For that reason, you might say "I am in Oxford Street" because you are in the West End. With motorways and roads, we tend to think of ourselves as driving on a surface.

    2) When giving your street name, I'd say there are two possibilities. "He lived in/on Baker Street", unless you say the number, when it would be "at 221 Baker Street".
     
  7. FromPA

    FromPA Senior Member

    Philadelphia area
    USA English
    I would only use "on" in all the examples given. "I was stuck in traffic on Oxford Street."
     
  8. inib

    inib Senior Member

    La Rioja, Spain
    British English
    Thanks for replying.
     
  9. CuervoGold Senior Member

    Spain
    Spanish
    Thank you everybody!

    And what about the use of "on" in this song (by a Scottish singer!!)

    Winding your way down on Baker Street (why not "in" Baker Street?)
    Light in your head and dead on your feet
    Well, another crazy day
    You'll drink the night away
    And forget about everything

    Thank you again! Sorry, but prepositions are difficult to understand!
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2014
  10. CuervoGold Senior Member

    Spain
    Spanish
    Hi again! I asked about the use of "on" in "your way down on Baker Street" since some people of this thread have pointed out that "on" (followed by street names) is used by American natives, rather than British speakers, but "Baker Street" is a song by a Scottish singer.

    I mean, I don't know if it's also right to say: Winding your way down IN Baker Street

    Any ideas? Sorry, but I really find it difficult to understand the use of prepositions in English.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2014
  11. levmac

    levmac Senior Member

    No longer here.
    I googled this lyric. Some people think it's "to Baker Street" and some people have put no preposition!

    The normal thing would be:

    Winding your way down Baker Street (sin nada = bajando por la calle)
    Winding your way down to Baker street (bajando con destino a Baker Street)

    Winding your way down on Baker Street me queda torpe. Supongo que significaría "en Baker Street, bajando" pero no aconsejaría que lo utilizaras cuando hablas.
     
  12. Wandering JJ

    Wandering JJ Senior Member

    England
    British English
    I have to agree with levmac! My initial thoughts were "why a preposition?" "Winding your way down Baker Street" is the most natural expression for me.
     
  13. CuervoGold Senior Member

    Spain
    Spanish
    Thank you again!

    Why did you mean with "la imagen que queremos crear"? Just out of curiosity.
     
  14. levmac

    levmac Senior Member

    No longer here.
    Whether we want to think of the street as a location (in) or the surface we are pisando (on)
     

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