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  1. #1
    englishhobby's Avatar
    englishhobby is offline Senior Member
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    Default Small park? Square? Small public garden?

    Hello, everyone,
    there's a Russian word that I cannot find an Engish equivalent for. In the city where I live there are nine-storeyed blocks of flats. Between them there is an area which the locals call "a park", but it's not really a park, it's too small to be called a park. It's about a hundred meters long and 60 meters wide. There are a few asphalted paths there, (), a few flowerbeds and some trees. There is also a tiny ground with a few carousels in this "park". There is an attraction for kids - they can ride small cars or a horse along the paths. It's not a "yard" (or, perhaps, it is?), because there is a market and a few clothes shops lying just next to it and it's not surrounded by buildings from all sides (only on two sides). And there are busy streets on all four sides of this "square". So my question is:

    What is the best word to call this area in English? If I suggest to a native speaker that we go "to the park", they may get a little puzzled when they actually see this small spot of land. And, if I am not mistaken, I can't call it "a square" either as it has trees in it. I've found the word "a public garden", but, perhaps, it's too grand a word for a place like that. Or is it a"yard" (even if it is surrounded by roads with cars driving along?) So, will you help me?
    Last edited by englishhobby; 19-Jan-2012 at 09:34.

  2. #2
    JMurray is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Small park? Square? Small public garden?

    This is the type of thing that will vary with different countries and localities. However I would have no problem with this being called a park, especially if it has some paths and trees. It's a smallish park but being about the size of a football field the locals might very well call it "the park".
    It could also be called a square, particularly if it's roughly rectangular. A square will often have a significant area of open ground but there's no reason for it not to have a few trees dotted around.
    People living in the area might refer to it as "the gardens" or something similar, especially if the flower beds etc are a prominent feature.
    In Aust/NZ it is certainly not a yard. A yard is either a commercial property like a timber yard or a car yard, or part of a private property adjacent to a house (front yard, back yard).

    not a teacher

  3. #3
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: Small park? Square? Small public garden?

    Is it surrounded by blocks of flats on all four sides? If so, it could be a large courtyard. However, it sounds very like the small area that was built in front of the flats I lived in in Madrid, and we referred to it as "a little park".

  4. #4
    Rover_KE is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: Small park? Square? Small public garden?

    Yes - it sounds like a park to me, too.

    Rover

  5. #5
    BobSmith is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Small park? Square? Small public garden?

    Quote Originally Posted by englishhobby View Post
    it's too small to be called a park. It's about a hundred meters long and 60 meters wide.
    Wow, to me, this sounds too big to be a park

  6. #6
    bhaisahab's Avatar
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    Default Re: Small park? Square? Small public garden?

    I'd call it a park.

  7. #7
    englishhobby's Avatar
    englishhobby is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Small park? Square? Small public garden?

    Loads of thanks to everyone who participated!
    So, "park" (or "a little park") is OK. Thank you for the "courtyard", too (I've just been looking for some new vocabulary).

  8. #8
    emsr2d2's Avatar
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    Default Re: Small park? Square? Small public garden?

    Quote Originally Posted by BobSmith View Post
    Wow, to me, this sounds too big to be a park
    When does a park in America get too big to be a park, and what does it become? In the UK we have parks which are acres and acres in size. The London Parks are massive.

  9. #9
    BobSmith is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Small park? Square? Small public garden?

    I did think of exactly Central Park when trying to decide, but even then, I wouldn't call it a park. I would call it Central Park. If pressed, I would (literally) call the park in the OP a "giant park".

    Must be because of the size parks I grew up going to

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Small park? Square? Small public garden?

    I'm not much of a city girl, but my brother lives in Toronto, and just down the street is a little park with some playground equipment, benches, grass, and paved paths, and the entire place is probably 1/3 the size you describe. I'd call it a park along with the others here. A park is defined more by what you do there than its size, I think.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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