She was sitting to/on/at his left.

Which preposition should I use in this context? Do they mean the same thing?

I found this post on the difference between "at" and "on", which gave me some clues in answer to my question, but I believe the different context (sitting at a table) requires another post.

On ngram all three seem to be used, though "on" more than the others.

To my understanding, the difference is the following:

  • Sitting at his left = right next to him, at a table.
  • Sitting to his left = not necessarily next to him nor at a table (unless known by the context), but near to his left.
  • Sitting on his left = not necessarily at the same table, but somewhere on his left.

Is my inference correct?

  • They all mean next to the person. And there is no distance difference at all. They all mean the same thing. – Lambie Nov 12 '18 at 22:24
  • @Lambie I disagree. "Sitting to his left" is not necessarily right next to a person. You could say, "Mr. Johnson is sitting to my left at the end of the table" – Gabriel Luci Nov 14 '18 at 17:36
  • 1
    @GabrielLuci Sorry, I said they are the same. In fact, You can use all of them to establish distance: on my left at the end of the table, at my left at the end of the table, and to my left at the end of the table. End of the table changes it, not the preposition. – Lambie Nov 14 '18 at 18:31
  • @Lambie Yeah..... I guess.... it would be understood anyway. – Gabriel Luci Nov 14 '18 at 18:42

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