a seat on the aisle

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scarlett_dream

Senior Member
Russian
The text is about cinema:

I don’ t like to be too close to the screen and I usually sit in the back row if possible, and I prefer a seat on the aisle so I can stretch my legs.

Why must it be on and not in the aisle?
 
  • SwissPete

    Senior Member
    Français (CH), AE (California)
    A seat on the aisle means a seat next to the aisle; so there is a seat next to you on one side, but not on the other.

    On a plane, it's called an aisle seat, as opposed to a window seat.
     

    ribran

    Senior Member
    English - American
    The seat is adjacent to the aisle, not actually in it.

    Consider the following sentence:
    I own a house on the lake. This sentence means not that the house is on a platform in the middle of the lake, but that the house overlooks it or is adjacent to it.
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    A seat in the aisle would mean that you were sitting in the pathway between the blocks of seats. On the aisle, as Pete explained, means right next to the aisle, at the end of a row of seats.
     

    scrotgrot

    Senior Member
    English - English
    You will also see British town names such as Stoke-on-Trent which means it's right next to the River Trent. Stoke-in-Trent would be a whole different matter!!
     

    prudent260

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    I own a house on the lake. This sentence means not that the house is on a platform in the middle of the lake, but that the house overlooks it or is adjacent to it.
    I have a question about this. I made the sentences below myself:
    1. I am going to take a walk on the newly built boardwalk on the lake. (I think this one is natural.)
    2. I am going to take a walk on the lake. (Could I say this to mean 'I am going to walk along the lake, adjacent to it?)

    Thank you.
     

    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    Sentence #1 suggests that the boardwalk extends over the surface of the lake (which is not uncommon), and that you will walk on the boardwalk over the surface of the lake.

    Your sentence #2 says that you are able to walk on the surface of the water. This is an amazing claim -- but if you lack this miraculous power, it is not a claim you can make.
     

    prudent260

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Sentence #1 suggests that the boardwalk extends over the surface of the lake (which is not uncommon), and that you will walk on the boardwalk over the surface of the lake.
    'A house on the lake' means the house overlooks it or is adjacent to it (from post 3). The house doesn't need to extend over the lake, but
    a Boardwalk on the lake suggests that it extends over the lake.

    As for"a seat on the aisle," the seat doesn't extend over the aisle, either.

    Is the understanding different because of context, in other words, the subjects in front of on?
     

    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    Not to me.
    Sorry
    The full sentence was " I am going to take a walk on the newly built boardwalk on the lake." If the boardwalk did not extend over the lake, it would be much more natural to say "... the newly built boardwalk by the lake", or "... along the lake", or "... next to the lake." I do not find "... on the lake" to be very natural generally (to describe a boardwalk, that is; I have no problem with using it for a house), and so if it were used I would think it had the meaning of going over the water.
     
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    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I think it matters. "On" meaning "next to" is used for permanent structures.

    We have a house on Lake Williams.

    The house is on the shore of Lake Williams. The house is not going anywhere.

    I like a seat on the aisle.

    The seat borders on the aisle. The seat is not going anywhere.

    But the same doesn't apply to walking or you. When you walk on something your feet are moving on it. And it's obvious you can't walk on the water of the lake.

    So 2 is definitely not natural. I think 1 is probably not quite natural either.

    1. I am going to take a walk on the newly built boardwalk along the lake.

    The boardwalk is not on one specific spot like a house. I think that's why "on" doesn't work. It extends too far.
     
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