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Thread: 'To lie in/at'

  1. Mehrgan's Avatar
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    'To lie in/at'

    Hi there,

    Do 'lie in' and 'lie at' have the same usage in the following sentences? (Can I use 'lie in' in such cases at all?!)

    "Many children's fear lies at the very root of their loneliness."

    "Many children's fear lies in their loneliness."

  2. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    Re: 'To lie in/at'

    http://www.oxfordlearnersdictionarie.../root_1?q=root Scroll down to 'main cause of problem'.
    Having read the above, I think 'lie at the root of' is an idiom, so I would not use 'in', but I am not a teacher.

    I don't understand why fear would cause loneliness.

  3. Barb_D's Avatar
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    Re: 'To lie in/at'

    I believe you're trying to say that their loneliness causes their fears, not that they are lonely because of their fears... is that correct?
    Many children's fears are rooted in their loneliness.

    The "roots" (basis) of their fears is loneliness.
    Your version suggests the roots of the loneliness are the fears.
    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.

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