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#208151 - 11/28/12 01:20 AM There is a space between each chair / the chairs.
Lionel Koh Offline
newbie

Registered: 09/24/12
Posts: 41
There is a space between each chair.

There is a space between the chairs.

Which of the above sentences should I use?

Thanks.


Edited by Lionel Koh (11/28/12 01:21 AM)
Edit Reason: typo

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#208152 - 11/28/12 07:04 AM Re: There is a space between each chair / the chairs. [Re: Lionel Koh]
Tromboniator Offline
old hand

Registered: 05/10/10
Posts: 817
Loc: Alaska
Welcome, Lionel.

To me, the first one makes no sense, so I would advise using the second; however, I have heard it argued that the first way is used so commonly, the meaning is so clear, that at least in conversation it is acceptable. I always wonder, though; if you remove all but one chair, is there a space between it?

Peter

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#208153 - 11/28/12 08:39 AM Re: There is a space between each chair / the chairs. [Re: Lionel Koh]
Faldage Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/01/00
Posts: 13803
My first thought was the second, but thinking about it I think the first would cover a whole line of chairs that the second leaves kind of unmentioned. It could also be taken to mean that there were two groups of chairs with a space between the groups. However, I might amend the first to read:

There is a space between each pair of chairs.

But really, without some context any way you say it could be misconstrued. Context, like redundancy, is our friend.

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#208155 - 11/28/12 05:04 PM Re: There is a space between each chair / the chairs. [Re: Faldage]
jenny jenny Offline
veteran

Registered: 06/05/10
Posts: 1554
Loc: Lower Aberdeen, Mississippi
Yes sirree, Faldage, context is our friend. But so is logic.

A semantic diagram of (1) can only mean x_x_x_x etc.
While a diagram of (2) can only mean xxxx__xxxx meaning aisle.

As they stand they are mutually exclusive statements.

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#208158 - 11/28/12 05:50 PM Re: There is a space between each chair / the chairs. [Re: jenny jenny]
BranShea Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/23/06
Posts: 5282
Loc: Netherlands, the Hague
The chairs could be pell-mell all over the floor. There would be no equal space between them. There would not be a space. Just space.

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#208159 - 11/28/12 05:59 PM Re: There is a space between each chair / the chairs. [Re: Tromboniator]
olly Offline
old hand

Registered: 12/18/06
Posts: 956
Loc: Auckland, New Zealand
Not sure of the rules but I would remove the 'a' in both sentences.

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#208190 - 12/01/12 12:52 AM Re: There is a space between each chair / the chairs. [Re: Lionel Koh]
Jackie Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 11609
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
Overall, I agree with my friend olly. "A" space to me implies one specific measurement--that is, the spaces between all the chairs are equivalent; but, implies only: I can't argue with somebody saying the spaces are of different measurements.

between the chairs could mean not necessarily all of the chairs; saying each chair removes that possibility.

Depends on what you want to convey, I reckon. If I heard, "The crew set up the auditorium so that there is space between the chairs", I would assume that it meant that none of the chairs touched another.

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#208192 - 12/01/12 08:24 AM Re: There is a space between each chair / the chairs. [Re: jenny jenny]
Faldage Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/01/00
Posts: 13803
Originally Posted By: jenny jenny
Yes sirree, Faldage, context is our friend. But so is logic.




There are so many things that trump logic in language use. Logic comes in about three levels after last sometimes.

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#208193 - 12/01/12 11:09 AM Re: There is a space between each chair / the chairs. [Re: Faldage]
jenny jenny Offline
veteran

Registered: 06/05/10
Posts: 1554
Loc: Lower Aberdeen, Mississippi
Originally Posted By: Faldage
Originally Posted By: jenny jenny
Yes sirree, Faldage, context is our friend. But so is logic.




There are so many things that trump logic in language use. Logic comes in about three levels after last sometimes.


Strange. You not being a woman and you understand this. smile

But, again, language serves to delimit as it describes. And the two sentences in question order the spacial relationship between chairs and space differently.

Why -you being a man- didn't you understand this? smile

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#208197 - 12/01/12 05:52 PM Re: There is a space between each chair / the chairs. [Re: jenny jenny]
Faldage Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/01/00
Posts: 13803
Because I know language.

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