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The motel was located on/by/along a deserted road.

Which one is correct? "By"?

1 Answer 1

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All three of those prepositions could be used, and they all mean roughly the same thing in this case.

  • "on" implies that the motel is actually attached to the road (accessible from the road).
  • "by" says that the motel is next to the road. This may also mean it's attached to the road, or it might just mean that the road runs past it but doesn't actually have any way to access the motel from there.
  • "along" implies that the motel is next to some significant portion of the road, not just one point (for example, if the motel is long and narrow, it rather implies that the long side of the motel is parallel to the road).

All of these distinctions are minor, though. You could potentially use any of these words for any other without problems.

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  • attached to the road? On the road is an idiom.
    – Lambie
    Apr 21, 2021 at 17:25
  • @Lambie Attached in the sense of a driveway that allows direct access. Not the word I would have picked, but the meaning seems clear.
    – StephenS
    Apr 24, 2022 at 15:06

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