IN/ON the square

MikeLynn

Senior Member
Hi, I have seen both and wonder if there is a difference. I'm afraid there is. If I had to figure it out, I'd probably say that in is the area surrounded by the buildings, where you can meet people etc. while on can be used for the buildings or houses surrounding the square. Am I right?
Two more questions: How about a building that's in the middle of the square? in or on? I'd go for in, and is there any difference between American and British usage? Thanks a lot for your help :)
 
  • There is a difference here in American and British usage. In American usage, the houses that line both sides of Greenwhite Street are said to be "on Greenwhite Street", but in British usage they might be described as being "in Greenwhite Street". In the same way, if I had a house in New York that faced Washington Square, I would say that I lived on Washington Square, but I believe it would be natural for someone from London to say that he lived in Grosvenor Square, rather than on it. If I crossed the street from my house to Washington Square Park, which is faced by the buildings on all four sides of the square, I would say that I was then in the square.
     
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    MikeLynn

    Senior Member
    Thank you GreenWhiteBlue, it seems to be quite close to what I thought, and probably a bit similar to on/in the street in BrE and AmE. I've been just trying to find something that would seem to be logical to my brain, so I can create some kind of "virtual feel" and use some analogies that would work most of the time, or at least usually ;)
     

    MikeLynn

    Senior Member
    I'm not sure, but this might help. Would/Could someone meet a friend on the square? Again, this is about the area surrounded by the houses, buildings. Any opinions and points of view are welcome. Thanks a lot :)
     
    You might say that. I remember that years ago there was a department store in New York called "S. Klein", that was located on the east side of Union Square. The store used a carpenter's square as its logo, and (making a pun on the carpentry-derived expression "on the square" meaning "honest", or "true", and the store's location) printed its paper bags and boxes with the slogan "S. Klein/ On the square!"
     

    MikeLynn

    Senior Member
    Thanks a lot. I do realize that the word square has a number of different meanings. I remember a be bop version of Rumple Stillskin where he said something like "DIG MY SQUARE HANDLE AND THE KID IS YOURS. LIKE...FOREVER" or its meaning that was opposite to hip, but this time I was trying to understand the way it worked in the sense of a, usually downtown or important area surrounded by houses or buildings. It might be mostly European concept of a square, but that's the way it usually works here :)
    Nevertheless, your contribution is helpful and thanks a lot
     
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