down at Vital Statistics

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LQZ

Senior Member
Mandarin
According to Oregon law, the person who gives birth is normally listed as mother. But when Thomas and Nancy Beatie complained, the certificate was changed again.
"The woman down at Vital Statistics in Portland decided to change it to say Parent/Parent, which is for same-sex couples in a domestic partnership," Thomas Beatie said.
Dear friends, this above is taken from abcnews website saying a llegal man gives birth to his second. I have looked down up in many dictionaries , but still can't catch its meaning. I guess it mean be responsible for. Am I right? Thanks.

LQZ
 
  • shawnee

    Senior Member
    English - Australian
    The word "down" here refers to the place where the vital statistics office is. Why down and not 'up' or 'over there' is probably a long and forgotten story. Americans say 'down town' for the city centre. Similarly a child might be told to 'go down to the shops.....'
    Hope this helps.
    In fact know that I think of it it could be down or up according to the geographic relationship between the speaker and the place.
     

    LQZ

    Senior Member
    Mandarin
    Thank you, shawnee, and could you please tell me what part of speech the down is?
    a preposition or an adjective?
     

    LQZ

    Senior Member
    Mandarin
    Dear friends, I think down at Vital Statistics is descirbing the woman. After repeatedly thinking, I reword the original sentence like this:
    "The woman [who is]down at Vital Statistics in Portland decided to change it to say Parent/Parent, which is for same-sex couples in a domestic partnership," Thomas Beatie said.

    Is the rephrased one correct grammatically and logically? Thanks.
     

    LQZ

    Senior Member
    Mandarin
    Thank you bibliolept, but I am still trying to know if down is an adverb that is describing the at ? Thanks a lot.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I think Shawnee has given you the right explanation:)

    I'd say down ia an adverb.
     
    In this sentence, "down" is an adverb, while "at" is a preposition.

    This type of construction is very common in English:

    The book is up on the shelf.
    The picnic this afternoon will be down at the beach.
    I placed the plants out in the sunlight.
     
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