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    #1

    sitting by the phone

    What does it mean ' I was sitting by the phone'? Does it mean 'I was sitting near the phone'? What's the difference between 'near and by' in this case? Are they interchangeable?

  1. moonlike's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: sitting by the phone

    Quote Originally Posted by allthewayanime View Post
    What does it mean ' I was sitting by the phone'? Does it mean 'I was sitting near the phone'? What's the difference between 'near and by' in this case? Are they interchangeable?
    I don't see any differences.

  2. sumon.'s Avatar
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    #3

    Re: sitting by the phone

    CAUTION : NOT A Teacher
    In my view(pond), in the context by means next to or beside and near means a short distance away that might takes the distance of next to or more than that.

  3. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: sitting by the phone

    In most contexts...
    It doesn't really matter where you were physically. I means "I waited in a great state of eagerness (or possibly anxiety) for the phone call I was expecting." It means you were so concerned about the news you are waiting for that you could hardly do anything else.

    Back in the old days, you couldn't leave the house if you were waiting for important news. So you waited by the phone all day. The expression has little connection to physical location now. The phone could be in your pocket.
    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.

  4. BobK's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: sitting by the phone

    [sumon, not Barb] BUT - in this case the precise geography doesnt matter, because 'sitting/waiting by the phone' is an idiomatic phrase that refers (typically - this keeps cropping up) to an old technology, when telephones were fixed to a particular spot (as some still are). When you expected a telephone call from someone, and particularly if you didn't want anyone (say, a parent or younger sibling...) to answer first, you had to 'wait by the phone' and pounce on it at the first ring. 'Wait/sit by the phone' means 'expect news avidly - often in a way that prevents you from doing anything else'.

    Example:

    'Do I get the job?'
    'Possibly, but we're not sure we'll get the funding for it anyway. We'll let you know, but don't wait by the phone.'



    b
    Last edited by BobK; 05-Apr-2012 at 15:45. Reason: PS Barb beat me to it

  5. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: sitting by the phone

    But it's great that we agree completely in what we said!
    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.

  6. BobK's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: sitting by the phone

    And using different words - which makes the discussion even more credible!

    b

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