I'm trying to improve my English by Reading books and I have chosen this book to read (First they killed my father ) Do you think that reading books is a good way to improve my English . My English Level is upper mediate . I'm in the beginning of the book . and I have faced these sentences which I can't understand exactly what they mean . This is the text:

Sometimes on the way to the market with Ma, I catch brief glimpses of these poor areas. I watch with fascination as children with oily black hair, wearing old, dirty clothes run up to our cyclo in their bare feet. Many look about the same size as me as they rush over with naked younger siblings bouncing on their backs. Even from afar, I see red dirt covers their faces, nestling in the creases of their necks and under their fingernails. Holding up small wooden carvings of the Buddha, oxen, wagons, and miniature bamboo flutes with one hand, they balance oversized woven straw baskets on their heads or straddled on their hips and plead with us to buy their wares. Some have nothing to sell and approach us murmuring with extended hands. Every time, before I can make out what they say, the cyclo’s rusty bell clangs noisily, forcing the children to scurry out of our way.

rush over: I have looked up in dictionary for it and found the rush means hurry. and I have looked up for rush over and couldnt find its meaning so I supposed it means run at. They rush over with naked younger siblings bouncing on their backs. Does this mean that they were running at carrying their younger sibling on their shoulder?

  • Yes and yes. Yes, reading is a good start for improving your English; yes, that's what that sentence means. Meanwhile, look at the C1 definition for "Come over" and you'll see what "rushed over" means. Feb 9, 2017 at 9:12
  • thank you . are you native English speaker ?
    – Alper
    Feb 9, 2017 at 9:52
  • For all intents and purposes, yes, but technically, no, since I was not born in the US. Feb 9, 2017 at 10:12
  • People don't have to be born in an English-speaking country to be a native speaker of English. Audrey Hepburn was born in Belgium yet she was a native speaker. This is because both her parents spoke English and raised her to speak English. Feb 9, 2017 at 13:13
  • Of course getting more and more exposure to authentic English is a wonderful and highly recommended way to improve your English. But if you keep running into constructions that are too difficult, you might want to consider choosing a book that is easier to comprehend. Feb 9, 2017 at 13:15

1 Answer 1


over is "deictic", that is, it is spoken from the speaker's perspective.

Depending on the context, it can mean "to that place I am talking about" or "to where I am/was".

In your passage, it means "to us in our cyclo".

  • The thing which I have not been able to understand in the whole scene. where those children running and carrying their siblings on their shoulder.
    – Alper
    Feb 9, 2017 at 12:30
  • That is not what you said in your question: " I have looked up for rush over and couldnt find its meaning". The children are being carried "piggy-back". google.com/… That is two questions now where your question was not about English but about the world.
    – TimR
    Feb 9, 2017 at 12:37
  • It was in my question ( Does this mean that they were running at carrying their younger sibling on their shoulder?) and it is about English both my questions when you read using any language you must be able to understand the event. I'm not really interested in knowing wither they carrying their siblings or not.But I wanted to understand how English works
    – Alper
    Feb 9, 2017 at 12:58
  • Maybe it means that the children running while their siblings playing like bouncing on their backs
    – Alper
    Feb 9, 2017 at 13:00
  • 1
    siblings bouncing on their backs. Bouncing is the present continuous form of intransitive verb bounce. The children, who were being carried "piggyback", were bouncing up and down as a result of the motion of running. Have you ever run with a heavy backpack on your back? That is the physical effect being described here. The older siblings were running while carrying their younger siblings on their backs (not shoulders). Nowhere does the passage say "shoulder".
    – TimR
    Feb 9, 2017 at 13:08

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