a low barrier he could see across


Senior Member

In the following passage, what does "across" mean? Did he see across the water? Probably not.

Jerry dived, shot past the school of underwater swimmers, saw a black wall of rock looming at him, touched it, and bobbed up at once to the surface, where the wall was a low barrier he could see across...Then one, and then another of the boys came up on the far side of the barrier of rock, and he understood that they had swum through some gap or hole in it. (Through the Tunnel by Doris Lessing)

Thank you very much.
  • Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    The wall of rock projected above the water, forming a barrier that separated where he was swimming from water beyond. However, it could not have projected far above the water, because he could see over it to the water on the other side. I don't see anything wrong with "across" here (we don't know how wide the rock barrier is), but "over" would be fine as well.
    Did he see across the water?
    No, across the rock barrier.
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