back downstairs the office

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tardigrade042

Member
Chinese
Hi there,
I am wondering whether the following sentence is correct:
When I was back downstairs the office, Susan just left.
Especially, I am not sure about the combination of "back", "downstairs" and "office".
Thanks!
 
  • lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    No, it doesn’t make sense. It’s not even clear what you’re trying to say. But the addition of “in” before “the office” would make sense, IF that’s what you mean.
     

    tardigrade042

    Member
    Chinese
    No, it doesn’t make sense. It’s not even clear what you’re trying to say. But the addition of “in” before “the office” would make sense, IF that’s what you mean.
    Emmm...It should be: I was back downstairs at the building where the office was in
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Well, that tells us the layout, at least. :D But it still doesn’t explain what’s happening. “Downstairs the building” makes no sense, by the way.

    Maybe…

    When I got back downstairs from the office, Susan just left.
     

    Hildy1

    Senior Member
    English - US and Canada
    I agree with the first part of lingobingo's sentence, but would say "Susan had just left".
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    'Downstairs' can only be used on its own, not with a following noun phrase. If you are on the top floor, you can go downstairs. Then you are downstairs. You can't go (or be) :cross:downstairs the top floor, downstairs the ground floor, or downstairs the building.

    It can be put next to another preposition phrase. If you go downstairs from the third floor to the second floor, you are now downstairs on the second floor.

    It doesn't mean "all the way down". If you are on the tenth floor and you go down to the ninth floor, or to the fourth floor, or to the ground floor, in all three cases you have gone downstairs.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I agree with the first part of lingobingo's sentence, but would say "Susan had just left".
    That may indeed be what was meant. It never was made clear. My version means that she didn’t leave until the other person got back downstairs.
     

    tardigrade042

    Member
    Chinese
    Thanks, lingobingo, entangledbank and Hildy1. I now know that I had some misunderstanding about 'downstairs'. In Chinese, direct translation of "'downstairs' the building" means 'on the ground floor of the building or on the street outside the building'. The 'downstairs' is grammarly equivalent to 'outside'.

    Now I know I should not try to say that :p
    Thanks a lot!
     
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