Directly above the cow

Gioacchino

Senior Member
Italian
Please look at the attached picture, if someone asked: "where is the donkey?" (meaning: what is its position on the ladder with respect to the other animals) do you think that the answer "directly above the cow" would be correct grammatically? Would it sound natural or awkward? Could you suggest a more natural answer conveying the same meaning? Would you rule out "over the cow" as an alternative? Thank you
 

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  • erbp

    Senior Member
    Bilingual English Spanish
    I think as (it has said before in this forum) that it all depends on the context.
    If Gioacchino and me were both facing the picture and he would have asked that to me, I surely would have answered
    There, between the cow and the pig.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I think as (it has said before in this forum) that it all depends on the context.
    If Gioacchino and me were both facing the picture and he would have asked that to me, I surely would have answered
    There, between the cow and the pig.
    Certainly that would be a reasonable answer, if that is indeed a pig at the top.

    Remember, Erbp, that if-clauses in English don't normally take conditional tenses. I'm sure you meant If Gioacchino and I were both facing the picture and he asked me that, I surely would have answered...
     

    erbp

    Senior Member
    Bilingual English Spanish
    Certainly that would be a reasonable answer, if that is indeed a pig at the top.

    Remember, Erbp, that if-clauses in English don't normally take conditional tenses. I'm sure you meant If Gioacchino and I were both facing the picture and he asked me that, I surely would have answered...
    It certainly is a pig. If you click on the image, you will enlarge it and you will see that the pink belly belongs to a pig.
     

    erbp

    Senior Member
    Bilingual English Spanish
    It have also thought I could have answered "on top of the cow".
    Would that have been wrong?
    My self answer:
    No it not would have been wrong but it would have been less precise because the pig is also on top of the cow.
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    It have also thought I could have answered "on top of the cow".
    Would that have been wrong?
    My self answer:
    No it not would have been wrong but it would have been less precise because the pig is also on top of the cow.
    It would have been wrong, because "on top of" means that there is no space between them. If I am standing on top of Mount Everest*, my boots are in contact with its surface; I am not floating in the air over it. If a picture is on top of a bookcase, it is resting on the bookcase; it is not hanging on the wall above it. The donkey is above the cow on the ladder, over the cow, higher than the cow, etc., but it is not on the cow.
    _______________________
    *I have never stood there, and I am not likely to in the future.
     

    erbp

    Senior Member
    Bilingual English Spanish
    It would have been wrong, because "on top of" means that there is no space between them. If I am standing on top of Mount Everest*, my boots are in contact with its surface; I am not floating in the air over it. If a picture is on top of a bookcase, it is resting on the bookcase; it is not hanging on the wall above it. The donkey is above the cow on the ladder, over the cow, higher than the cow, etc., but it is not on the cow.
    _______________________
    *I have never stood there, and I am not likely to in the future.
    Yes, you are right. The pig is also above the donkey and the cow and not "on top"
    Thanks for calling my attention.
     
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