'Only a little on the small side'


Senior Member

What does it refer to in the following context?

'It was no dream. His room, a regular human room, only a little on the small side, lay quiet between the four familiar walls.'

Thanks guys.
  • G.Determinism

    Senior Member
    This is taken from a Kafka's novel, The Metamorphosis.
    I still have problems with "on the small side", can you please elaborate on it?

    Much appreciated.


    Senior Member
    Thanks dear Kate.
    I used to think it was 'laid'!! So what's this then?
    It's kind of off-topic here, but basically what we have are different verbs that sometimes sound a lot alike but aren't used the same way and are conjugated differently. It's ridiculous, I know, but there it is. I'm sure some of your own grammar books talk about it because it's something that confuses many people, native and non-native speakers alike. Here's an article to get you started from Grammarist: lay vs. lie. You can also find numerous threads here in the EO forum.

    (Cross-posted with James)


    Senior Member
    Oh, it's such a shame because recently I had read about it some where and I was aware of that, It's just like it didn't click at the right moment.

    Thanks James and Kate. Your help is always greatly appreciated.

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    It's strange, I know, but lay is the past tense of the verb to lay. Does that answer your question?
    Sorry, Kate, lay (here) is the past of lie; I think you've got yourself tangled.

    If written in the present tense, this sentence would be: 'It is no dream. His room, a regular human room, only a little on the small side, lies quiet between the four familiar walls.'
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