In front of/opposite

akelas

Senior Member
Spanish, from Spain
Hola.
Tengo entendido que:
"Opposite" es cuando dos cosas/personas están frente a frente.
"in front of", una cosa/persona está colocada en frente de la otra pero dando la espalda

Entonces, ¿por qué se dice "he was siting in front of the computer, or siting in front of the TV? Are inanimate objects an exception?

Thank you.

I've found this,

1- A band plays their music in front of an audience.
2- The teacher stands in front of the students.
3- The man standing in the line in front of me smells bad.
4- Teenagers normally squeeze their zits in front of a mirror

But in examples 2 and 3, "in front of" is used for the same purpose, but 2 conveys people facing each other, students and teacher, and 3 conveys the contrary, the man in front turning his back. And yet both 2 and 3 use "in front of"
It is very ambiguous I think.
 
  • Bevj

    Allegra Moderata (Sp/Eng, Cat)
    English (U.K.)
    In front of no significa 'en frente pero dando la espalda'.
    Si te olvides de esta definición errónea, creo que te desaparece la confusión.
     

    Cholo234

    Senior Member
    American English
    Entonces, ¿por qué se dice "he was sitting in front of the computer, or siting in front of the TV? Are inanimate objects an exception?
    Cambridge Grammar of English explains this below.

    But in examples 2 and 3, "in front of" is used for the same purpose, but 2 conveys people facing each other, students and teacher, and 3 conveys the contrary, the man in front turning his back. And yet both 2 and 3 use "in front of"
    It is very ambiguous I think.
    I think in front of in number one could be understood to mean opposite (if this makes sense). I think number two should use the word opposite, unless the teacher's back is to the students.

    Opposite - in front of (3).jpg
     
    Last edited:

    gengo

    Senior Member
    American English
    Tengo entendido que:
    "Opposite" es cuando dos cosas/personas están frente a frente.
    "in front of", una cosa/persona está colocada en frente de la otra pero dando la espalda
    As mentioned above, there is no connection to dar la espalda. If I am in front of you in a line, I could have my back to you, or have my left or right side to you, or be facing you. The only relevant thing is that I am on your front side. (Also, in a line, you could use "ahead.") Similarly, if I am in front of a house, I could be facing it or facing in another direction, but I must be on the front side of the house.

    Also, "opposite" isn't really used as you have said above. That would be "face to face" for people. "Opposite" has a somewhat higher register than "in front of," so it is used less often in casual conversation, and more often in technical contexts.
     

    Cholo234

    Senior Member
    American English
    Also, "opposite" isn't really used as you have said above. That would be "face to face" for people. "Opposite" has a somewhat higher register than "in front of," so it is used less often in casual conversation, and more often in technical contexts.
    Thanks for clarifying!
     
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