<at><before><in front of>the altar

sagar grammar

Senior Member
Namaste,
Dear members.

I have a question in which I chose #3, but they have given #1 as an answer.
I could not get it, could you help me to?


He bowed down .…..................
1 . At the altar
2. In front of the altar
3. Before the altar
4. Next to the altar

Thabks in advance. :)
 
  • london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Hello.:)
    We say 'at the altar' but 'before the altar' is fine too. 'In front of' is wrong in this context because it would mean you were on the other side of the altar (on front of it) and 'next to' would means
    you are standing to one side of it, so neither mean 'at/before the altar'.

    Where does this exercise come from?
     

    prudent260

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Hello.:)
    We say 'at the altar' but 'before the altar' is fine too. 'In front of' is wrong in this context because it would mean you were on the other side of the altar (on front of it) and 'next to' would means
    you are standing to one side of it, so neither mean 'at/before the altar'.

    Where does this exercise come from?
    If you face the alter, aren't you in front of it?
     

    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    If you face the alter, aren't you in front of it?
    'In front of the altar' doesn't necessarily mean you're facing it (which 'at' and 'before' do). For example, if someone were to say to me 'I've got a photo of me standing in front of the altar in the Church of the Holy Trinity' I would expect to see a photo of that person with their back to the altar.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Whatever the possible interpretations of those options, to “bow before the altar” is the standard way of describing this action. Basically, that’s why it’s the correct answer.



    EDIT: I’ve just realised it’s not in fact the answer considered correct! :oops:
    I suppose the addition of “down” (which I also overlooked) makes a difference though.

    Another Ngram, comparing thewir answer with mine (no “down”).
     
    Last edited:

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I could use any of those, depending on context. It doesn't have to be the altar in a Christian church, does it? I suppose one could bow down in any number of ways.
     
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