<by the fire> at Camp Waconda

Discussion in 'English Only' started by VicNicSor, Feb 18, 2017.

  1. VicNicSor

    VicNicSor Senior Member

    Russia
    Russian
    -- I tried to think of the most harmless thing. Something I loved from my childhood. (...) Mr. Stay Puft. We used to roast Stay Puft marshmallows by the fire at Camp Waconda.
    Ghostbusters, movie

    1. "by" here means "beside", "near". Is that right?

    2. would it be possible to use the indefinite article herte -- "by a fire"?

    Thank you.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2017
  2. heypresto

    heypresto Senior Member

    South East England
    English - England
    Yes, more or less. But a better equivalent would be 'around' - it's idiomatic to sit 'around the fire'.

    It would be possible, but it wouldn't sound as natural. It would have a slightly different meaning.

    I'm sure we've covered this sort of distinction before - several times.
     
  3. VicNicSor

    VicNicSor Senior Member

    Russia
    Russian
  4. heypresto

    heypresto Senior Member

    South East England
    English - England
    Yes, that's a good example.
     
  5. VicNicSor

    VicNicSor Senior Member

    Russia
    Russian
    Am I right that if he'd referred to a single instance of roasting marshmallows, he would've used "a"?:
    "We once roasted Stay Puft marshmallows by a fire at Camp Waconda."
    :)
     
  6. heypresto

    heypresto Senior Member

    South East England
    English - England
    :thumbsup: Yes, that would make sense.

    But he could equally as naturally use 'the' here too.
     
  7. VicNicSor

    VicNicSor Senior Member

    Russia
    Russian
    I understand why "the" is used in the OP, with "used to roast", but could you please explain why it would be natural in my exmaple in #5?
     
  8. heypresto

    heypresto Senior Member

    South East England
    English - England
    "We once roasted Stay Puft marshmallows by the fire (that we/they made) at Camp Waconda."
     
  9. VicNicSor

    VicNicSor Senior Member

    Russia
    Russian
    That would make sense if the listener was aware of what the speaker was talking about, maybe they both roasted those marshmallows. Otherwise it would leave the listener guessing -- "What fire?... Right?:)
     
  10. heypresto

    heypresto Senior Member

    South East England
    English - England
    No. It's obviously the fire that we, or they (the camp organisers) made at the camp. The one we roasted marshmallows in.
     
  11. VicNicSor

    VicNicSor Senior Member

    Russia
    Russian
    Thank you:)
     

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