a pit on top of the stone

Angelya

Senior Member
Chinese
Hey, all! If there is a pit in(maybe other prepositions)the stone, how would you describe it? "a pit on top of the stone" is made my compatriot, but I think "a pit in the stone" makes sense. And we can also say "a pit in the ground". Then I googled it at Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA). And there seems to be both "a pit in the ground " and "a pit on the ground", but there is no expression like "a pit in the stone", "a pit on the stone", or "a pit on top of the stone". Would you please give me your answer?
 
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  • Florentia52

    Modwoman in the attic
    English - United States
    Please give us the complete sentence, and explain the situation in which you would say it. Once we understand what you're trying to say, we may be able to help you.
     

    Angelya

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Please give us the complete sentence, and explain the situation in which you would say it. Once we understand what you're trying to say, we may be able to help you.
    Sorry, maybe I'm not being clear enough! But I really did my best to provide the exact situation. I mean, there is a pit or hole in the stone, and on rainy days it can even hold water where chickens can come to drink. But I am not sure which preposition can be used to describe it. I use "in" because I think so. But I found an expression like "a pit on top of the stone", which I cannot disagree. To my understanding, "a pit" shall be "in" something instead of something else. And we can also say "a pit in the ground". But to my surprise, "a pit on the ground" also appears at Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA). That's why I came here for your help over the usage of prepositions used in this specific situation. So what do you say? I would really appreciate any reply!
     
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    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    One problem is the reference to 'the stone'. We wonder what stone you are talking about. I thought you must be talking about the stone in a fruit like a peach.
    You mean a stone/rock that has a [-] in it which is deep enough to hold water. Perhaps you mean a hollow?
     

    Angelya

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    We still need to see the sentence, Angelya.
    Sorry! I thought the expression is enough, and if not, I may change it to "There is a pit on top of/ in/on the stone".
    View attachment 29891 Here's a large stone block that has been hollowed out to make a drinking trough for animals.
    Actually, my question comes from doing translation. And I think your pictute is probably what the stone looks like. So, Hermione, if it is so, which preposition is suitable here? "In", "on" or the phrase "on top of"? Looking forward to your replies!
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    There is a problem using "pit" about a depression in a rock. That already has a meaning. Look at the picture in post #7. Any of the hundreds of small depressions (pockmarks, scars, indentations) on that rock are called "pits". That is another meaning of the noun "pit", shared by the verb "pit". The rock is "pitted" (has many small indentations in it).

    Normally a "pit" (your meaning) is defined as "a hole or cavity in the ground". It is not in a rock. It is not in any object. That is why we have no terms describing the direction of a "pit", and we don't say "a pit in the bottom" or "a pit in the side" or "a pit in the top". The ground is roughly flat, so any hole you dig is digging down from the surface.
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    Pit is a very poor choice. Without context, I thought your thread was going to be about the insides of fruit (pit and stone are both used that way.) So we’re faced with immediate ambiguity.

    In geography we use pit for something excavated, and generally huge. Don’t use “pit”.

    Even the word STONE is slightly problematic, if the whole thing is a trough, as illustrated in #7 then it is OK to call it a stone.
    If the item is the surface of the land I wouldn’t use stone on its own.

    As to your question about prepositions: use IN. It seems you are talking about a hole or depression IN something, whichever nouns you choose.
     

    Angelya

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    If the stone is what the picture shows, can I say "There is a puddle in the stone"? This is my personal translation while "pit" is offered by my book. Looking forward to your replies!
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    Got it! Thanks for your replies!
    It is worthwhile your knowing that "pits" occur in a smooth surface and are usually very small. The commonest form of pitting is that caused by rust on metal:

    There is pitting to the end of this knife-blade:

     

    Angelya

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    It is worthwhile your knowing that "pits" occur in a smooth surface and are usually very small. The commonest form of pitting is that caused by rust on metal:

    There is pitting to the end of this knife-blade:

    Thanks a million! Your picture helps me a lot!
     
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