On the right or to the right?

gvergara

Senior Member
Castellano (variedad chilensis)
Hi people:
I have never been able to understand what the difference between on the right and to the right is, or are they equivalent? I look forward to your answers, bye

Gonzalo
 
  • shamblesuk

    Senior Member
    England, English
    On the right = On the right hand side (of something, someone etc)
    To the right = heading towards the right, eg when turning in a car, looking at something etc.
     

    elroy

    Imperfect mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    "To the right" can be used to mean "in the place" as well.

    On my wall, there is a clock to the right of my calendar.
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    elroy said:
    "To the right" can be used to mean "in the place" as well.

    On my wall, there is a clock to the right of my calendar.

    True enough, but 'to the right' of my whiskenpluffer also implies direction and separation from a fixed point. The place is the result. It's a relative, rather than absolute, place.
     

    gvergara

    Senior Member
    Castellano (variedad chilensis)
    So, if my intuition and understanding are working fine, to the right implies a separation between two objects or people. If I'm driving in my car, should I say that there are mountains to my left?

    Gonzalo
     

    elroy

    Imperfect mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    gvergara said:
    So, if my intuition and understanding are working fine, to the right implies a separation between two objects or people. If I'm driving in my car, should I say that there are mountains to my left?

    Gonzalo

    Yes.

    Cuchu, wouldn't "on the right" be relative as well? Aren't "right" and "left" (in any situation) relative by definition?
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    Elroy,
    Of course. The difference is slight, but when I'm driving my car and want the passengers to notice the mountains on my left (to is just fine also, there is no good reason to deny the use of either preposition in this phrase.) I might say, "Look at those beautiful mountains on the left." Left of where? Wherever we happen to be.

    Now take the case of pointing out a flimphox to the left of the doohuple. The doohuple is to the left, or right, of Elroy, or in front of or atop him or wherever. To signal the place where you can see the flimphox, you have to first reference the doohuple. So the position of the object is relative to another object, which in turn has a position relative to your own.

    It's just a hint more about a point relative to another point relative to your own position.

    You were quick to affirm that Gonzalo should say 'mountains to my left', and that's fine. It may have given the impression that "mountains on my left" would be less useful or correct, and I don't believe that was your relative intention.

    Can we all go back to our places now?
     

    gvergara

    Senior Member
    Castellano (variedad chilensis)
    cuchuflete said:
    Elroy,
    Of course. The difference is slight, but when I'm driving my car and want the passengers to notice the mountains on my left (to is just fine also, there is no good reason to deny the use of either preposition in this phrase.) I might say, "Look at those beautiful mountains on the left." Left of where? Wherever we happen to be.

    Now take the case of pointing out a flimphox to the left of the doohuple. The doohuple is to the left, or right, of Elroy, or in front of or atop him or wherever. To signal the place where you can see the flimphox, you have to first reference the doohuple. So the position of the object is relative to another object, which in turn has a position relative to your own.

    It's just a hint more about a point relative to another point relative to your own position.

    You were quick to affirm that Gonzalo should say 'mountains to my left', and that's fine. It may have given the impression that "mountains on my left" would be less useful or correct, and I don't believe that was your relative intention.

    Can we all go back to our places now?
    Yes, thanks a lot. See you

    Gonzalo
     

    elroy

    Imperfect mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    cuchuflete said:
    You were quick to affirm that Gonzalo should say 'mountains to my left', and that's fine. It may have given the impression that "mountains on my left" would be less useful or correct, and I don't believe that was your relative intention.

    You are right. I only meant to say that "to" would be ok. I should have been relatively clearer. :)
     
    Top