I've seen a sentence Ram sits three places away from Shyam while solving a puzzle.

Does it mean Ram sits fourth to shyam or Ram sits third to shyam?

I understood it as Ram sits fourth to Shyam but I'm not sure of that.

I've found an explanation on this website.

But they didn't make it clear. I want to here explanations from you.

Is the meaning of away is ambiguous.

Can you please explain its meaning to me?

3 Answers 3


Good question. I would expect "zero places away from" to mean "sitting on someone's lap", so "one place away from" would mean "next to", and "two places away from" would be the same as "next place but one". However, English is not always logical, and like you, I cannot find a usable reference.

  • A few websites say that it mean three people sit in between them but a few say it otherwise. I'm confused. Oct 23, 2016 at 8:03
  • 1
    If might be useful if you include those references in your question. It may save others some work.
    – Mick
    Oct 23, 2016 at 8:05
  • I already mentioned one. I don't want to mention the rest since they are non standard and non reliable sources. But after seeing the explanation in the website which is linked to, I'm confused more. Oct 23, 2016 at 8:14
  • 1
    Oh! well. We need an expert.
    – Mick
    Oct 23, 2016 at 8:21
  • I agree with the usage of @Mick, but other speakers might calculate # spaces away (especially as compared to sits nth from) differently. There's no one right answer. Oct 23, 2016 at 20:58

As reference from the statement used in the question: "Ram sits three places away from Shyam"

Which means that Ram is Three places away. For ease of understanding, Ram = 0 some person = 1 some person = 2 Shyam = 3

If you need more detail explanation go here


If a person is sitting x places right or left of somebody it means that there are x persons placed between the former and latter.

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