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Thread: cover

  1. #1
    jiang is offline Key Member
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    Default cover

    Dear teachers,

    I know I can say 'to cover something with something'. Then I come across a sentence:
    The city was covered in a thick blanket of snow.

    Could you please explain if there is any difference between "to cover something with something" and "to cover something in something'?

    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you in advance.

    Jiang

  2. #2
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: cover

    Quote Originally Posted by jiang View Post
    Dear teachers,

    I know I can say 'to cover something with something'. Then I come across a sentence:
    The city was covered in a thick blanket of snow.

    Could you please explain if there is any difference between "to cover something with something" and "to cover something in something'?

    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you in advance.

    Jiang
    When you cover A with B, B often exists before you start. It could be a blanket or a sheet or a piece of paper; you could pick it up and say 'this is a <whatever-it-is>'. When something covers A in B, B doesn't exist until the process starts - a blanket of snow, a sheet of ice, a layer of dust...

    But the with case is not rigidly true. Something can be 'covered with a blanket of snow', but as I hear it - other views may differ - 'with' makes the process sound complete:

    The snow was beginning to settle, covering the village in a white blanket

    but this is also possible:

    When I woke, the village was covered with a thick blanket of snow


    b

  3. #3
    jiang is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: cover



    Dear BobK,

    Thank you very much for your explanation. So in my sentence "B (snow) covers (A) city". That means 'snow' doesn't exist until it began to snow. Is that right?

    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you in advance.

    Jiang


    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    When you cover A with B, B often exists before you start. It could be a blanket or a sheet or a piece of paper; you could pick it up and say 'this is a <whatever-it-is>'. When something covers A in B, B doesn't exist until the process starts - a blanket of snow, a sheet of ice, a layer of dust...

    But the with case is not rigidly true. Something can be 'covered with a blanket of snow', but as I hear it - other views may differ - 'with' makes the process sound complete:

    The snow was beginning to settle, covering the village in a white blanket

    but this is also possible:

    When I woke, the village was covered with a thick blanket of snow


    b

  4. #4
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: cover

    Quote Originally Posted by jiang View Post


    Dear BobK,

    Thank you very much for your explanation. So in my sentence "B (snow) covers (A) city". That means 'snow' doesn't exist until it began to snow. Is that right?

    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you in advance.

    Jiang
    Not quite; the blanket doesn't exist before it snows.

    b

  5. #5
    jiang is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: cover


    Dear BobK,

    Thank you very much for your explanation. Now I see.

    Jiang
    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    Not quite; the blanket doesn't exist before it snows.

    b

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    Default Re: cover

    The difference between the two is that "to cover with" indicates that the object/thing is totally, or to a great extent, hidden by what is doing the 'covering'.
    'to cover in' means something is all over the object, but not hiding it or there for the purpose of hiding the object.
    It's easier to understand if we look at some actual sentences:

    The boys were playing on the river bank, and came home covered in mud.
    The dead body had been covered with leaves and bushes, and would not have been detected except for the trained sniffer dogs.


    The back yard of the house was covered in a blanket of snow. The small wood pile was so covered with snow it was only by the end of a log still sticking out that he knew....

    (A) It snowed so hard last night, my car was covered with snow.
    (B) It snowed so hard last night, my car was covered in snow.

    In (A) , my car would have been almost covered with so much snow I might have to do some digging out. In (B) my car had a lot of snow on the roof and the bonnet (hood).

    She was so filthy rich that when she attended any function, she was covered in diamonds.
    Whilst they waited for the police to arrive, they covered the corpse with a blanket.

    The boy had a school yard fight and came home covered in bruises. There was a nasty looking graze on his leg, so his mother covered it with a bandage.
    Last edited by David L.; 27-Nov-2007 at 03:58.

  7. #7
    jiang is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: cover


    Dear David,

    Thank you very much for your explanation. Now I see.

    Jiang
    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    The difference between the two is that "to cover with" indicates that the object/thing is totally, or to a great extent, hidden by what is doing the 'covering'.
    'to cover in' means something is all over the object, but not hiding it or there for the purpose of hiding the object.
    It's easier to understand if we look at some actual sentences:

    The boys were playing on the river bank, and came home covered in mud.
    The dead body had been covered with leaves and bushes, and would not have been detected except for the trained sniffer dogs.

    The back yard of the house was covered in a blanket of snow. The small wood pile was so covered with snow it was only by the end of a log still sticking out that he knew....

    (A) It snowed so hard last night, my car was covered with snow.
    (B) It snowed so hard last night, my car was covered in snow.
    In (A) , my car would have been almost covered with so much snow I might have to do some digging out. In (B) my car had a lot of snow on the roof and the bonnet (hood).

    She was so filthy rich that when she attended any function, she was covered in diamonds.
    Whilst they waited for the police to arrive, they covered the corpse with a blanket.

    The boy had a school yard fight and came home covered in bruises. There was a nasty looking graze on his leg, so his mother covered it with a bandage.

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