Author: rainbow

是on the streets 还是 in the streets? [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2008-3-15 16:45:17 |Display all floors

对hly提供的解释表示怀疑,欢迎继续讨论:

Originally posted by hly_2009 at 2008-3-15 10:36
Hi:
on the streets有homless或 working as a prostitute. 的意思
in the street 有common 的含义楼主可以先查字典哦


AHD:
习惯用语:

on the street or in the street
Without a job; idle.
没有工作的;闲逛的
Without a home; homeless.
无家的;无家可归的
Out of prison; at liberty.
出狱;自由

LDOCE:

3
the man/woman in the street
also the man/woman on the street
the average person, who represents the general opinion about things
The man on the street assumes that all politicians are corrupt.

这两本字典对on the street 和 in the street处理是相似的。

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Post time 2008-3-16 02:40:15 |Display all floors
Well, I've been thinking about this question since it was posted. I'll try to give my impression (not necessarily the "correct" one):

(1) Location
In an everyday sense, in the street tends to mean "located in the actual street, not on the sidewalk or along the street"; on the street tends to mean "at the vicinity of the street."

So, if someone asks where you are, you'd say: "I'm on 34th Street." If someone asks "Are you on the sidewalk?," you'd say, "No, I'm in the street." It depends on the context. Generally, if you're specifying your location with a particular street, you'd say on.

The phrases are not mutually exclusive: a parade takes place both on the street and in the street.

In some cases, one phrase or the other is almost always used.
live on a particular street (that's where your home is).
*live in a particular street - not correct, it would mean you live in the center of the street.

(2) Metaphor
on the street/in the street
either homeless; without a home or the average person.
The two phrases are very similar. I think, for the examples given by hly and ptb, the somewhat more common phrase is on the street.

(3) on the streets/in the streets
With the plural "streets" the two are extremely similar. It seems like there is a very slight distinction. For example:

panic on the streets: generalized feeling of panic in the neighborhoods, in public (a little more abstract)
panic in the streets: specific instances of panicky behavior actually occurring in the streets

That's not a hard and fast rule—if you forced someone to make a distinction, that might be the distinction (however slight) made.

So, generally, politicians refer to "crime (or violence) on the streets" (not usually "in the streets") to refer to the general phenomenon of crime (or violence) that takes place in public.

Again, except for the location examples above, the more metaphorical distinctions are very slight, if they exist at all.
中文我不会读也不会写。Really, I don't.

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Post time 2008-3-16 07:47:21 |Display all floors
Originally posted by jeff_in_sf at 2008-3-16 02:40
In some cases, one phrase or the other is almost always used.
live on a particular street (that's where your home is).
*live in a particular street - not correct, it would mean you live in the center of the street.


Interesting! Thanks for the thoughtful work.

Recently when I was checking on my daughter's homework there was this fill-in-the-blank question where it was talking about somebody living where and the "standard" answer given was "in" but it felt just strange to me - I didn't dare say "in" was wrong though so I basically said "mmm, ah, umm, well..."    Guess now I could tell my daughter "on" is at least the preferred preposition.
世上就怕“认真”二字,I'll try my best

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Post time 2008-3-16 11:12:25 |Display all floors
Originally posted by rouofhk at 2008-3-15 03:47 PM
Thanks for the thoughtful work.
You're welcome.

Unfortunately English is not as perfectly logical as I imagine Chinese to be.

We could probably develop a Venn diagram for showing where you say "in the street" and where you say "on the street" and where you can use either.

Occasionally there's a fixed phrase such as "dancing in the streets": They will be dancing in the streets if he's elected president.  That might be because, generally, if you "dance on" something, usually you're doing that on the surface or top of something—here, again, the meaning is more like you're in the "street" part of the street, as opposed to the sidewalk or the side, so it's a special or unusual occasion, not that you're dancing on the surface of the street.

Again, I think, on the streets has. in some instances, a slightly more abstract meaning of "out in public, in the neighborhoods, the public common areas" and in the streets has, in some instances, a more concrete meaning of in the actual streets. But, again, the distinction, if it exists at all (I might have imagined it), is slight.

And, to complicate matters further, there are sometimes regional differences with regard to these prepositions. New Yorkers will insist that people wait on line, while nearly everyone else says people wait in line. ("In line" to New Yorkers means the shape  or configuration of how people are standing while they wait "on line.")
中文我不会读也不会写。Really, I don't.

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Post time 2008-3-16 11:28:42 |Display all floors
the alcoholic  who live in the street , offen wandering naked on the streets at mid-night.
live in the street 老是不在家里。

[ Last edited by tiger343400 at 2008-3-16 11:30 AM ]

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Post time 2008-3-16 11:39:46 |Display all floors
Originally posted by tiger343400 at 2008-3-16 11:28
the alcoholic  who live in the street , offen wandering naked on the streets at mid-night.
live in the street 老是不在家里。

who lives in the street,  here = who is homeless

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Post time 2008-3-16 11:51:10 |Display all floors
.
.
Mew, a small fry turns out to be a $ sixty-four question, huh?

Thanks for all your contributions. Jeff, your answer is helpful.

(scratch my head) mm, English grammar always is my pain in the neck. Ouch!
Talk in English rather than talking about English.

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