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Look at this picture, a rat was at a distance from the ticket booth. The suddenly, the rat ran towards the booth and then sneaked under the booth.

enter image description here

The dictionary says

under (prep) in, to or through a position that is below something

Have you looked under the bed?

She placed the ladder under (= just lower than) the window.

The dog squeezed under the gate and ran into the road.


So, according to oxford dictionary, under: to a position that is below something

So, "The rat ran under the booth" can be replaced by "The rat ran to a position that is below the booth"

But saying that "The rat ran under the booth" may be confusing because people may think the rat just ran under the booth but not from a position outside the booth.

My question is

Do we say "The rat ran to and then under the ticket booth" or just "The rat ran under the ticket booth"?

  • There is no need to explain that the rat ran to the booth before disappearing under it; that's self-evident if it came from somewhere else. If it was already under there we would say something like "The rat was running about under the booth". – Kate Bunting Jan 7 at 8:59
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Why would anyone say the very wordy:

The rat ran to a position that is below the booth
OR
The rat ran to and then under the ticket booth

when the sentence below does the job perfectly?

The rat ran/was under the booth

The Oxford Learners' Dictionary says "a position that is below something" to define the preposition “under”.

That's not to say there is only one way to eat an orange; some people peel oranges served on a fruit plate with a knife and fork, so there's nothing wrong with the OP's substitute sentences per se, they're unnecessarily fussy.

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  • but people may think the rat ONLY ran under the booth the whole time, they may not think that the rat ran from a position outside the booth before it went under the booth. – Tom Jan 7 at 13:03
  • @Tom I wouldn't worry, the verb "run" implies a certain distance, and saying "under" the booth means it was not always under it, the rat was elsewhere (outside). – Mari-Lou A Jan 7 at 13:43
  • @Tom As I said in my earlier comment, if the rat was already under the booth we would say that it 'was running about under it'. – Kate Bunting Jan 7 at 16:12

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