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  1. #1
    CarloSsS's Avatar
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    Default stand around/back/by

    I just did a test (created by a non-native speaker) and there were these two questions in it:

    1. The firemen were standing ________ in case there was an explosion.
    a) by
    b) back

    2.The teacher told the kids to stand ________ so that they all could see the experiment.
    a) around
    b) back

    I think that in both questions both choices are possible. The author of the test obviously didn't think so. What do you think?
    Please note that I'm not a teacher.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: stand around/back/by

    (Not a Teacher)

    1) If a warehouse full of volatile chemicals were on fire, I'd assume the firemen would be standing back in case of an explosion. However, if this were, say, a bomb threat, the firemen would be standing by as the EOD team did its sweep in case there was an explosion. The context is a tad important here.

    2) If I were going to use 'stand around' in that sentence, I would provide an object to stand around. ("He told the students to stand around the desk so they could see the experiment.")
    'Stand around', without any further context, means 'to loiter'.
    'Stand back' makes sense on its own here.
    Last edited by SlickVic9000; 10-Jan-2013 at 19:29.

  3. #3
    Chicken Sandwich's Avatar
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    Default Re: stand around/back/by

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    Quote Originally Posted by CarloSsS View Post
    I just did a test (created by a non-native speaker) and there were these two questions in it:

    1. The firemen were standing ________ in case there was an explosion.
    a) by
    b) back
    'By' seems more likely to me. Is that the 'correct' answer?

    'Stand by' is a phrasal verb, so perhaps that's what the test maker was going for:

    stand by phrasal verb
    4 to be ready to do something if necessary standby :
    Rescue crews were standing by in case of a breakdown.
    (Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English)
    Last edited by Chicken Sandwich; 10-Jan-2013 at 19:23.

  4. #4
    CarloSsS's Avatar
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    Default Re: stand around/back/by

    Quote Originally Posted by SlickVic9000 View Post

    2) If I were going to use 'stand around' in that sentence, I would provide an object to stand around.("He told the students to stand around the desk so they could see the experiment.)
    'Stand back' makes sense on its own here.
    But it makes sense event without an object, doesn't it?
    Please note that I'm not a teacher.

  5. #5
    CarloSsS's Avatar
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    Default Re: stand around/back/by

    Quote Originally Posted by Chicken Sandwich View Post
    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****



    'By' seems more likely to me. Is that the 'correct' answer?
    Yes, it's the "correct" one. Still I think both make sense.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chicken Sandwich View Post

    'Stand by' is a phrasal verb, so perhaps that's what the test maker was going for:

    stand by phrasal verb
    4 to be ready to do something if necessary standby :
    Rescue crews were standing by in case of a breakdown.
    (Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English)
    Yes, but so is "stand back".
    Please note that I'm not a teacher.

  6. #6
    Chicken Sandwich's Avatar
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    Default Re: stand around/back/by

    Quote Originally Posted by CarloSsS View Post
    Yes, it's the "correct" one. Still I think both make sense.
    You're right, it's not a good question.

  7. #7
    SlickVic9000's Avatar
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    Default Re: stand around/back/by

    Quote Originally Posted by CarloSsS View Post
    But it makes sense event without an object, doesn't it?
    I suppose you could, but it sounds better and the meaning is clearer if you have an object. "Gather around" and "Huddle around" can be used without an object here, and I'd personally favor the former.

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