I am not so sure how to use "across" in this situation.

(1) Can I say

The bridge is across a river.

Can "across" directly fellow after "be"?

(2) If the usage in (1) is right. Can I use "across" in this case?enter image description here

Black bridge (black stickin the bild) is across the senond grass (green rectangle, there are four regions of grass).

If I say it like above, whether others misunderstand that the black bridge is only across region 2 and no others. But actually, it is also across region 3 and 4. If it is wrong, how can I describe that the black bridge is "across" region 2?

  • 1
    A bridge crosses a river or goes, was built across a river. Across the river is on the other side of the river.
    – KarlG
    Apr 26, 2018 at 12:12
  • So, across can not follow directly after is?
    – Xiaodi
    May 3, 2018 at 21:01
  • No. As I said, across the river means on the other side of the river. A bridge is by necessity on both sides. You walk/drive over a bridge to get across the river. The bridge crosses the river so you can get across.
    – KarlG
    May 4, 2018 at 21:37

2 Answers 2


A better sentence might be as follows: 'The bridge crosses a river.' or 'The bridge spans a river.'

NOTE: I substituted "spans" in place of "crosses" because it's more precise. "Crosses" has a connotation of 'action'...think of it from a visual perspective of seeing a flying bridge going from one side of a river to the other; whereas "spans" seems more sedentary. :)


There are (at least) two definitions for across:

  • across (adverb, preposition) = from one side to the other of something with clear limits, such as an area of land, a road, or a river

  • across (preposition) = on the opposite side of

Of course, the two meanings are quite different, and different people might different things from the same sentence.

So the following is correct (using the "from one side to the other"):

The bridge is across a river.

An alternative way ti say the same thing, removing ambiguity, is:

The bridge is over a river.

However, using the "on the other side" definition, the sentence:

The bridge is across a river.

Means that AFTER you cross the river (method is unspecified), you will find a bridge. Possibly, it is a bridge over a highway, over a railways track, or anything else. It can be quite close, or quite far - also unspecified.

The XY bridge is not in this part of the city. The bridge is across the river.

(assume a big city, split in "half" by a river)

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