Since walk along is used to express horizontal movement on some surface, and at the same time it could mean movement next to something- how is it "walking/running along" different from "walking/running by"?

  1. He went for a walk by the lake.
  2. He went for a walk along the lake.

Here, does the second one imply walking along the length of the lake?

Are they interchangeable?

  1. He walked along the silent, parked cars of the parking lot.
  2. He walked by the silent, parked cars of the parking lot.
  • To me there is an implication, but not clear-cut, that the walking in #3 was restricted to the parking lot, but #4 went beyond that. That does really carry-over to #1 and #2 because 'a walk' is being modified by the prepositional phrase. Dec 7, 2018 at 20:20
  • Would you say "by" and "along" here are interchangeable here? @RossMurray Dec 7, 2018 at 21:49
  • @ Soumya Ghosh I would say both could be used in any situation, although I may prefer one over the other in some situations because the meaning was a little more precise. My answer is, "Almost." Dec 8, 2018 at 6:48
  • Ralph m has a point that 'along the side of the lake' is more literally correct. However, for anyone not named 'Jesus', I suggest that 'the side of' is so intuitively obvious to anyone else that it is not essential to say it. Dec 8, 2018 at 6:52
  • walked along the row or rows of parked cars.
    – Lambie
    Feb 28, 2021 at 21:14

2 Answers 2


I'd say 2. and 3. are not quite grammatical. When you walk "along" something, you're actually on it — like a road, or path etc. When you walk "by" something, it's next to where you're walking. You could, however, walk "along the side of a lake", as you're actually on the side as you walk.

  • He walked along the dirty walls of the hallway. Does this sound ungrammatical? Dec 8, 2018 at 22:13
  • It might be okay if it's a scene from The Matrix, where people can walk on walls. :-) You could perhaps get away with this, because people would know what you mean, but it's better to say what you mean. So it would be better to say something like "He walked along the hallway with the dirty walls", or "He walked along the hallway by the dirty walls".
    – ralph.m
    Dec 9, 2018 at 2:16

To "walk by" something means to pass it as you walk. So, if you walk by a lake, it means as you're walking you pass near a lake. If you walk by parked cars, it means you pass some parked cars.

To "walk along" something means to follow the edge or contour of something as you walk. So, to walk along a lake means follow the edge of the lake, like walking on a beach. "Walking along silent parked cars" doesn't mean anything, since you can't walk along a car. You can, however, walk along a line of parked cars, because a line has a contour to follow.

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