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I understand opposite means on the other side of something, so for example

I'm sitting opposite my friend at the table.

In this example could I also say the following?

I'm sitting in front of my friend

Would that be wrong?


So, in my example, could I say that if I say 'I'm sitting in front of my friend' it's OK, it's just not as specific 'opposite my friend'?


Thank you. I understand the difference in your example. I just wanted to know if there is an object that separates us, in my example the table, would that be wrong if I use 'in front of'? Some English speakers told me that it's also ok.

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In general, opposite indeed means that there is something in between you and your friend, in your example, that is the table.

By contrast, if you are in front of someone or something, it is implied that there is nothing in between.

So sitting in front of your friend at the table could give the impression you are both on the same side of the table, and you are in between the table and your friend.

Note that sometimes the object in between is only implied:

I was waiting opposite the bank.

Means that I was waiting on the other side of the street, the street being in between me and the bank.

I was waiting in front of the bank.

Now I was waiting on the same side of the street as where the bank is.

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In front of is the opposite of behind. We generally say something or somebody is in front to mean before you.

For example, people can be positioned in front of you in a queue or line up. A student may sit in front of me in a classroom or a car can be in front of you on a road. (if it were opposite you then it is coming towards you)

Opposite usually implies that somebody or something is facing you (with or without and obstacle in between ). Sometimes we can use the word facing instead of opposite to give the same meaning.

Here are some examples:

He lives opposite me. (in a house that is facing mine).

He is the man standing opposite the painting. (he is facing the picture and looking at it, but you could also say the picture is in front of him . if it were behind him then how could he admire it).

They stood facing each other. (they are facing each other or standing opposite to each other).

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