I have always understood "with view of someone" to mean can be seen by someone. But I have seen several sentences where the phrase seemingly means can see something from a vantage point, e.g.:

The safari-style glamping situation offers in-tent bathrooms, showers, king-size beds, and solar power all within view of Lincoln’s stony face.

This line (from here) talks about a camping site near Mount Rushmore. Merriam Webster also seems to suggest this phrase has two distinct and almost opposite meanings, but there's some ambiguity in its examples. So is this usage common/accepted?

1 Answer 1


I don't think MW is confused. If A is within view of B, then, under normal circumstances, B is also within view of A. It is normally a reciprocal relation. MW does seem to draw a distinction between when people are being discussed and when places are being discussed, a distinction that makes sense because places do not see.

So MW says that when used with respect to two people, "within view" means that they can presumably see each other, and thus the phrase may mean capable of being seen or capable of seeing.

MW also says that when used with respect to a place, it means only capable of being seen. That is logical and probably reflects common practice, but your quotation shows that it is not universal practice.

Personally, I would have said "with a view of Lincoln's face" because the statue of Lincoln's face is not viewing anything. But then people who write ad copy are not noted for their sensitivity to English usage.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .