# Rather than space extending itself, it is the distance between any two points within the universe that is growing.

#### GoodTaste

##### Key Member
The idea that the universe is expanding involves a bit of subtlety. For example, we don't mean the universe is expanding in the manner that, say, one might expand one's house, by knocking out a wall and positioning a new bathroom where once there stood a majestic oak. Rather than space extending itself, it is the distance between any two points within the universe that is growing.

Source: The Grand Design by Stephen Hawking (p196)

I can't clearly tell whether it is a question of grammar or logic about the sentence "Rather than space extending itself, it is the distance between any two points within the universe that is growing".

What is the exact meaning of "rather than space extending itself"? It doesn't seem to be compatible with the rest of the sentence, because the growing distance between any two points within the universe must be the result of space extending or expanding itself, not other way around.
In a communication run on New Scientist, all people who published their view appear to agree this. A speaker from Germany said "A better analogy is to consider the surface of an inflating balloon where the surface is a two-dimensional equivalent of our three-dimensional universe. The balloon fabric is space; dots marked on this surface (equivalent to galaxies) will move apart as the balloon expands, but only because the fabric (space itself) is expanding, and without any central point for the expansion". So the growing distance between two points is due to space itself extending.

Now let's go back to the sentence "Rather than space extending itself, it is the distance between any two points within the universe that is growing". Hawking might mean "rather than referring to space extending itself, we are here referring to the distance...is growing". That is, he's not denying that the growing distance is caused by space extending, he's simply talking about one aspect of the space-its surface if we imaged the space is a balloon. The logic of the sentence is consistent, the meaning of grammar about "rather than space extending itself" is different.

I am not absolutely sure. Can you see the consistency of the sentence? If so, what is the meaning of it? Can you rewrite it in more words
so that I can understand it?

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#### Piscean

##### Senior Member
I can't clearly tell whether it is a question of grammar or logic
It has nothing to do with grammar.

#### GoodTaste

##### Key Member
It has nothing to do with grammar.
Do you think if the logic is consistent?

#### jutfrank

##### VIP Member
Are you asking what Hawking means? Let me rephrase it.

When we say the universe is growing, we don't mean that the perimeter is getting further away from the centre. We mean that each point is getting further away from every other point.

Rather than space 'extending' itself = [instead of the idea that the perimeter is getting further away from the centre]

He's saying that it's not a matter of extension like when you add an an extra bit to your house. It's more a matter of expansion, like when a balloon gets bigger when you blow it up.

#### GoodTaste

##### Key Member
Are you asking what Hawking means? Let me rephrase it.

When we say the universe is growing, we don't mean that the perimeter is getting further away from the centre. We mean that each point is getting further away from every other point.

Rather than space 'extending' itself = [instead of the idea that the perimeter is getting further away from the centre]

He's saying that it's not a matter of extension like when you add an an extra bit to your house. It's more a matter of expansion, like when a balloon gets bigger when you blow it up.

Yet extending is closely related to expanding: as you blow up a balloon, the balloon expands, not only the distance between any two points on the surface of it grows, but the perimeter is getting further away from the centre as well.
So the question of the OP seems to remain, although there appears to be a vague sense of improvement in understanding.

#### jutfrank

##### VIP Member
The ideas of extension and expansion are different. That's what Professor Hawking is trying to get you to understand.

#### Tarheel

##### VIP Member
@GoodTaste Are you talking about yourself in the third person?

#### Piscean

##### Senior Member
I really don't think this language forum is the right place to discuss the logic of Hawking's scientific writing.

#### GoodTaste

##### Key Member
The ideas of extension and expansion are different. That's what Professor Hawking is trying to get you to understand.

OK then. Do you agree that expansion itself contains, more or less, extension?

#### GoodTaste

##### Key Member
I really don't think this language forum is the right place to discuss the logic of Hawking's scientific writing.

It sounds reasonable in some ways. But the general language discussions has a wider scope than Ask A Teacher.

#### jutfrank

##### VIP Member
OK then. Do you agree that expansion itself contains, more or less, extension?

In this case, no. That's the whole point—they're different.

Thinking of the universe as extending outward from the centre is the wrong way to understand an inflating universe. Thinking of the universe as expanding simultaneously at all points in space in all directions is the right way to understand an inflating universe.

#### GoodTaste

##### Key Member
In this case, no. That's the whole point—they're different.

Thinking of the universe as extending outward from the centre is the wrong way to understand an inflating universe. Thinking of the universe as expanding simultaneously at all points in space in all directions is the right way to understand an inflating universe.

That is a good point.

But, despite the singularity of creation being less than an atom in size(or being zero theoretically), which might conjure up the illusionary picture of being the center of cosmic expansion, and the inflation requiring expanding simultaneously at all points in space in all directions, it is still not easy to rule out the possibility of the space extending itself. Just substitute "expanding" with "extending" and it seems to work as well.

Unless the Hawking's wording-"space extending itself" peculiarly refers to "space extending outward from the centre". If so, the question of the OP is particularly about grammar, rather than logic or meaning.

#### Tarheel

##### VIP Member
No, it isn't. And it's "Hawking," not "the Hawking".

#### GoodTaste

##### Key Member
No, it isn't. And it's "Hawking," not "the Hawking".
How about "this Hawking's wording"? Both "the" and "this" modify "wording", not Hawking.

What is your reason to say No?

#### Tarheel

##### VIP Member
If you are going to use the possessive say "Hawking's wording".

#### GoodTaste

##### Key Member
I have edited my post. Another question was added there.

#### jutfrank

##### VIP Member
Unless the Hawking's wording-"space extending itself" peculiarly refers to "space extending outward from the centre".

Yes. That's what I said.

Do you have another question?

#### emsr2d2

##### Moderator
Staff member
If you want to refer to "Hawking's wording" with an article, you need to change the word order.

Unless the wording/words/text of Hawking ...