a distance of a very large lawn

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Senior Member
Hi there,

Could you tell me which one is correct, please?

" It was a cottage that stood by itself back from the street over the distance of a very large lawn, a full city lot, I think, unless the size of the lawn has grown in my memory over time." The End Of The Story by LYDIA DAVIS, P.90

Here is what I understood:

(The cottage is beyond a city lot full of lawn which is high in height) or ( It was a very big lot full of lawn)

Actually what I really don't know is that the size of the lawn refers to the height of the lawn itself or the size of the area.

So many thanks in advance.
  • Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    There is no mention of height here, only the distance from the street to the house, which is filled by a lawn. This distance is "a full city lot", which would be about 100m, I believe.


    Senior Member
    English - US
    There's nothing about the height of the lawn (how tall the grass is).
    The lawn is between the street and the cottage.
    The lawn is the size of a lot (normally there would be a front lawn, the house, and the back yard/garden in one lot) so the cottage must be unusually far from the street, perhaps in a second lot.


    Senior Member
    Native language: English (BrE)
    I agree with the explanations given by Glasguensis and Myridon, but I wouldn't recommend that you try to reproduce that phrasing elsewhere.

    The phrase in bold seems very odd to me. Firstly, a lawn doesn't have a distance; it has a length: so "the distance of a very large lawn" stopped me in my tracks and caused me to re-read it to work out the probable intended meaning.

    Secondly, "over" is ambiguous: at first I wasn't sure whether to read it as "more than" [the length of a very large lawn], or as "across" [the very large lawn]. The first would be strange, because 'longer than a very large lawn' is just another very large lawn! Presumably it's the second meaning; but it's still strange, because "over a distance ..." normally suggests that something is occurring continuously or repeatedly as that distance is traversed (a cheetah can run at its top speed over a distance of 500 metres).

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