made the sidewalks swell beneath their bulging roots.

HSS

Senior Member
Standard Japanese, Sendaian Japanese
I could easily imagine how sidewalks are pushed up from beneath, but this expression seems to describe otherwise --- sidewalks under roots. Normally concrete slabs are pressed by roots from underneath. Could anyone help me envisage the scene?

There were a couple of traffic lights dangling on droopy wires that interrupted the traffic flow as it edged toward the bridge that spanned the river, and on either side of the main road were low-slung brick buildings, sandwiched together and stretching for half a mile, with business names stenciled on the front windows advertising places to eat and drink or purchase hardware. A few old magnolias were scattered here and there and made the sidewalks swell beneath their bulging roots. In the distance, he saw an old-fashioned barber pole, along with the requisite older men sitting on the bench out in front of it.
('The Lucky One' by Nicholas Sparks)
 
  • Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    I can only conclude that the writer (or the editor) was somehow confused.

    As you point out, the sidewalks are pushed upward by tree roots bulging underneath. (We have several of those on our street!)
     

    HSS

    Senior Member
    Standard Japanese, Sendaian Japanese
    It is possible that they are pushed down, and that's still 'swelling' ... only downwards, but ...

    Thanks, I thought for a while that this non-native head was somehow going coo-coo and couldn't catch the scene properly. :)
     
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