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  1. #1
    keannu's Avatar
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    standing about next to the train

    The translation goes "standing absent-mindedly", but I think "about" means "close", so I think it's wrong.
    What do you think?

    st102
    ex)...The soldiers were dividing people up - women and children and old people one side, and able-bodied people the other side - separated by barbed wire. My mother and I were standing about next to the train that we were going to get into and my father was on the other side...

  2. #2
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    Re: standing about next to the train

    Hi
    Stand around/about: to spend time standing somewhere and doing very little. So it has nothing to do with standing absentmindedly.
    Good luck

  3. #3
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    Re: standing about next to the train

    You mean "stand about" means "stand still" without doing anything"? Doesn't "about" mean anything of "close"?

  4. #4
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    Re: standing about next to the train

    Quote Originally Posted by keannu View Post
    You mean "stand about" means "stand still" without doing anything"? Doesn't "about" mean anything of "close"?
    No, it doesn't have anything to do with "close" when we use it in this context. It's a phrasal verb: to stand about. We also say "to stand around", to "hang around", "to hang about". They're all similar and they just mean to stand somewhere without any obvious reason for doing so, or simply because the person is just waiting for something.

    Teenagers hang around the streets in groups at night, making people nervous.
    Commuters stand around near the edge of the platform, hoping to squeeze onto the next train that pulls in.
    My flatmate hangs around the cake aisle in the supermarket while I go and do all the shopping.

  5. #5
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    Re: standing about next to the train

    "Standing absent mindedly" seems pretty close in meaning to me.

  6. #6
    emsr2d2's Avatar
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    Re: standing about next to the train

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    "Standing absent mindedly" seems pretty close in meaning to me.
    I think you can hang around or stand about without being absent minded about it, though. "Absent mindedly" suggests that while I was standing there, my mind wandered off or I was daydreaming. I can hang about or stand around on a train platform reading a book, playing a game on my mobile phone, talking to my mum on the phone, doing a crossword. I wouldn't do any of those absent mindedly (well, maybe the third one!)

  7. #7
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    Re: standing about next to the train

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    I think you can hang around or stand about without being absent minded about it, though. "Absent mindedly" suggests that while I was standing there, my mind wandered off or I was daydreaming. I can hang about or stand around on a train platform reading a book, playing a game on my mobile phone, talking to my mum on the phone, doing a crossword. I wouldn't do any of those absent mindedly (well, maybe the third one!)
    Yes, I agree but if the closest Korean expression means "standing absent mindedly" it's quite close IMO. It's a lot closer than "standing close."

  8. #8
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    Re: standing about next to the train

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    It's a lot closer than "standing close."
    Now that I agree with.

  9. #9
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: standing about next to the train

    Quote Originally Posted by keannu View Post
    Doesn't "about" mean anything of "close"?
    Not here- next to provides their location. About modifies standing.

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