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  1. #1
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    Default in the street, on the road .. what about lane?

    We say that something is in a street - 'in Charles street', for instance.

    But we use 'on' with the 'road' (on King's road).

    What preposition should I use with the word 'lane'? Is it 'in Park Lane' or 'on Park Lane'?

    And I also have doubts now about the 'square'. I remember being always told (since times out of mind) that it is 'at the square'.
    Google finds almost 400 000 instances of 'in the square' - and that's in the .uk domain...
    What shall I use? I'm quite confused now.

    Thank you.

    ps
    And one more question, if I may:
    If I want to way that I am going for a walk and I want to specify that I will be walking .. in the (city) streets? on the (city) streets?
    I'm sure not supposed to say that I will be walking the streets!?...
    Please help me, because I am in doubt about everything today.
    Last edited by black_velvet; 16-Aug-2007 at 13:54.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: in the street, on the road .. what about lane?

    I think this is British usage - in America everything is on streets, avenues, boulevards, circles, squares, etc. "We live on South Street. His father works two miles away, on St. Charles Avenue. His grandmother has a lovely home on Washington Square."

    As for walking, "walking the streets" does not necessarily have a sexual meaning, although "streetwalking" certainly does. You could say "I walked the streets for hours looking for my lost dog." Here, "in the street" means literally on the pavement of the street: "Our kids have to ride their bikes in the street, since there's no sidewalk in our neighborhood."

    Here are some walking examples (AE):

    He walked along the streets downtown, looking at the boarded-up buildings.

    She walked down Grand Avenue, took a right, walked two blocks on 2nd Street, and came back up Filmore Street.

    If you go for a walk downtown, be sure to stay off Montrose Street - it's not safe after dark.

    Tourists often spend time walking up and down/along/on the famous Miracle Mile.

    Hope that helps...


    [not a teacher]

  3. #3
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    Default Re: in the street, on the road .. what about lane?

    Thank you, Delmobile, for the interesting information.
    As always!

    Quote Originally Posted by Delmobile View Post
    I think this is British usage - in America everything is on streets, avenues, boulevards, circles, squares, etc. "We live on South Street. His father works two miles away, on St. Charles Avenue. His grandmother has a lovely home on Washington Square."
    I appreciate that, but Grammar books have always said 'in the street' and I wonder, in a purely hypothetical sense, what one should use if a question like that came up, say, in a Toefl examination paper. To use 'on the street' seems unsafe to me... Or?


    Quote Originally Posted by Delmobile View Post
    He walked along the streets..
    Tourists often spend time walking up and down/along/on the famous Miracle Mile.
    Yes, I think that's the idea.

    Quote Originally Posted by Delmobile View Post
    If you go for a walk downtown, be sure to stay off Montrose Street - it's not safe after dark.
    Do you refer to the center of the city as 'downtown'? Or is 'downtown' just an area - not a posh one.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: in the street, on the road .. what about lane?

    You could say "I walked the streets for hours looking for my lost dog." Here, "in the street" means literally on the pavement of the street: "Our kids have to ride their bikes in the street, since there's no sidewalk in our neighborhood."
    You said, "in the street" means literally on the sidewalk of the street :
    So in this example, "Our kids have to ride their bikes in the street" expresses the meaning that, "Our kids have to ride their bikes on the sidewalk of the street". But then why did you write, "Since there's no sidewalk in our neighbourhood".

    [Note : I assumed that "pavement = sidewalk"]
    Last edited by user_gary; 16-Aug-2007 at 15:01.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: in the street, on the road .. what about lane?

    TOEFL test: don't know. Are they set up for British English? I hope one of the teachers will answer this point.

    Downtown: Yes, the center of the city--"where the lights are bright," to quote Petula Clark. Unfortunately in many American cities, some parts of downtown are not safe after dark.

    user gary, by "pavement" I mean the paving surface. Apparently this is another instance of British usage being different from American:

    Definition of pavement - Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

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    Default Re: in the street, on the road .. what about lane?

    Quote Originally Posted by Delmobile View Post
    TOEFL test: don't know. Are they set up for British English? I hope one of the teachers will answer this point.
    Thanks, Delmobile, for your attention.

    I thought Toefl was something you had to take, as a foreigner, in to prove that your language skills are enough for studying at an American university..
    I'm not so sure, though.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: in the street, on the road .. what about lane?

    The in/on the street difference is one that I've learned about only since I started posting on these types of boards.

    I do hope an actual English as a Second Language teacher will come to talk about whether the TOEFL would want the American or British preposition.

    To an American, it sounds funny to say "in the street" because it means (to us) the part that the cars drive on. Anyone walking, or playing there would either create terrible traffic jams or be in mortal peril!

    [obviously not a teacher]

  8. #8
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    Default Re: in the street, on the road .. what about lane?

    TOEFL is put out by English Testing Service, a U.S. company, and uses American English. IELTS (International English Language Testing System) uses British English. This web site gives a little info on both tests.

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    Default Re: in the street, on the road .. what about lane?

    Thank you, Ouisch. There you go, black velvet - "on the street" it is.

    So tell me, Ouisch---should the song lyrics, written by Americans for a musical based on a play by a British author, really be:

    "All at once am I,
    Several stories high---
    Knowing I'm in the street where you live..."

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    Default Re: in the street, on the road .. what about lane?

    Quote Originally Posted by Delmobile View Post
    Thank you, Ouisch. There you go, black velvet - "on the street" it is.

    So tell me, Ouisch---should the song lyrics, written by Americans for a musical based on a play by a British author, really be:

    "All at once am I,
    Several stories high---
    Knowing I'm in the street where you live..."
    In AmE, it would say "on the street where you live."

    Are you old enough to remember the song "Our House" by the British group Madness? In the US, the lyrics were a bit amusing, because "our house, in the middle of our street" brought to mind pictures of a house literally sitting in the middle of the street, instead of along side of the road. In AmE, a house is on a street, not in it.

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