I always think of the meaning of “belong” in one of the following ways:

  • as a verb: used to say that someone or something should be in a particular place or situation;

  • [phrasal verb]: belong to (someone) means to be owned by someone; belong to (something) means to be a member of a club, organization, etc.

I was looking up for the meaning of the term set in google lately, and it goes like this:

a number of things that belong together.

My confusion: "Belong together" to what? So, if I say “a set of commands”, according to this definition, it means a number of commands that belong together, but what do these commands belong to?

  • 1
    Note that belong together is not the same as belong to. If anything it's your first meaning: the items are linked together in some way. Commented Jul 10, 2023 at 11:11
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    'They belong together' means 'it is appropriate/well that they should be knitted together (in a close relationship) or considered as being closely associated'. 'John and Ruth belong together' / 'The authors of CGEL consider that traditional present participles and gerunds belong / should be classified together'. Commented Jul 10, 2023 at 11:57
  • @EdwinAshworth It helped. Thanks for your time. Commented Jul 10, 2023 at 11:58

1 Answer 1


They belong to the group they form together. They do not "do" the belonging together, it is together that is the "destination" of belong. Just as when you say that:

Your shoes belong in the closet, not in the middle of the living room. (M-W)

The belonging is not only about owning, but also about the appropriate, suitable place or environment or group of something/someone, as you can see in the link from the dictionary provided.

Quoting Collins, FreeDictionary explains:

You can also use belong to say that someone or something is in the right place. Belong is used on its own, or is followed by an adverbial phrase such as here, over there, or in the next room. [I would add together].

  • The plates don't belong in that cupboard.
  • They need to feel they belong.

When you say a set of commands, you do not refer to owning or belonging, but to the fact that the commands form a group in which they function together, not individually.

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    I am not sure it is about a shared characteristic necessarily. It can be simply something that makes them unable to function separately. For example, it's no use buying a phone without buying a sim card or a charger together with it. They therefore come as a set.
    – fev
    Commented Jul 10, 2023 at 11:48
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    "Related" is less strong than "belong". Not all related commands belong together. I would be careful to accurately express the interdependence of the commands. If it's a set, then belong is more correct.
    – fev
    Commented Jul 10, 2023 at 11:51
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    Yes, These commands will give the desired result, only if they work together. Separately they may have some action but which may be only a step towards the desired result.
    – fev
    Commented Jul 10, 2023 at 11:55
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    I am glad you listened, I am feeling heard. Though, I have one last question: you mentioned “related” being less stronger than “belong”. What a reader with a reasonable amount of knowledge of the nuances between “related” and “belong" would comprehend if I were to say: "these commands are related to each other" instead of "these commands belong to each other"? Commented Jul 10, 2023 at 12:02
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    And this is my last answer, as this site is not a chat. If you say commands are related, they are similar in some things or share a common property or origin etc, but they can function separately. Whereas with "belong" you are saying they must function together.
    – fev
    Commented Jul 10, 2023 at 12:06

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