walk two abreast

Silver

Senior Member
Chinese,Cantonese,Sichuan dialect
Hello everyone, today when I looked up "abreast" in dictionary.reference.com, I got an example sentence:


They walked two abreast down the street.


Because it is only a sentence, so please forgive me about the inadequate context.


Thanks
 
  • Faucon niais

    Member
    Taiwanese
    It looks like the commas are missing:

    They walked, two abreast, down the street.

    "Two abreast" is the abbreviated form of "two (of them) abreast," meaning, as the above poster says, "two (of these men) side-by-side."
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    Silverobama, it's not clear what your question is. If you have looked up "abreast", you should have found that it means side-by-side and facing in the same direction.

    Two abreast means two people (or things) side-by-side and facing in the same direction.

    Three abreast means three people (or things) side-by-side and facing in the same direction.

    Four abreast means four people (or things) side-by-side and facing in the same direction.

    If people are walking five abreast you can assume that at least one of them is walking in the road and not on the pavement (sidewalk) ;)

    PS

    The commas suggested by Faucon niais are not required. I would not use them in such a simple sentence structure.
     

    Silver

    Senior Member
    Chinese,Cantonese,Sichuan dialect
    Silverobama, it's not clear what your question is. If you have looked up "abreast", you should have found that it means side-by-side and facing in the same direction.

    Two abreast means two people (or things) side-by-side and facing in the same direction.

    Three abreast means three people (or things) side-by-side and facing in the same direction.

    Four abreast means four people (or things) side-by-side and facing in the same direction.

    If people are walking five abreast you can assume that at least one of them is walking in the road and not on the pavement (sidewalk) ;)

    PS

    The commas suggested by Faucon niais are not required. I would not use them in such a simple sentence structure.
    Hello Andy, I knew my question exactly, but perhaps you can see I am a bit slow-witted(I am not sure whether it is right, I want to I am not mentally retarded, but in comprehending the meaning of the sentence and the articles, I cannot grasp the meaning all at once), I looked up "abreast" in the dictionary(dictionary.reference), then I saw the original sentence, but I have never thought that the sentence could be put as "walk two abreast", if you also took a glance at the definition of "abreast", you can see the second meaning of it is "remain up-to-date", then I saw the example sentence of the second definition "Keeping abreast with the times", and obviously, you can see here the sentence is without "one, two, three....", that is why confused me. In accordance with what you, my dear friend Andy, said, if you see "two walk abreast" means "two are walking side-to-side", here get back to my sentence "keep abreast", I ought to see "keeping two abreast with the time", anyway, thanks, if I can reposition the words in the sentence, I got what I want:

    They two walked abreast down the street.:D
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    you can see I am a bit slow-witted(I am not sure whether it is right, I want to I am not mentally retarded, but in comprehending the meaning of the sentence and the articles, I cannot grasp the meaning all at once)
    Definitely not slow-witted. The limit of my Chinese was that I could once count to ten in Cantonese - but even that is now forgotten.

    The second meaning is common, but metaphorical. That is, the first meaning is the literal one which refers to the physical location of objects. You can have many objects in a row, side-by-side and facing the same way, so they can be 10 abreast, 50 abreast etc.

    When "keeping abreast with the times" there is no physical relationship. You have an understanding of current affairs and know how they are developing - the direction in which they are going. Thus, it would be possible for many people to "keep abreast of the times", but they are not in a line with each other, only each, as an individual, with the times. They cannot, then, be "five abreast with the times", but must be "five people, each abreast with the times".
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top