I enlarge on 3. the shop next to (close to/before/opposite/in front of, etc.) where we live. Thanks to user StoneyB's answer, I did read about (See definition 2) pro-forms here.

*These are not all so absurd ..., because the spatial relationships are in most cases reciprocal: if the place where you live is ‘opposite’ the shop, the shop is also ‘opposite’ the place where you live. Still, before and in front of inverts the spatial relationship; and in all these cases, you are inverting your topic: instead of a bound relative clause describing where you live relative to the shop, you have a fused relative clause describing where the shop is, relative to where you live.

I understand the differences for prepositions that invert the spatial relationship (ie are NOT 'reflexive'), such as in front of, because X in front of WHERE we live <=> X fronts where we live, but X in front of WHICH we live <=> X lies behind where we live.

Yet what about the prepositions that are 'reflexive', such as close/opposite to? I don't understand the problems caused by 'inverting your topic'? I tried to learn about fused relative clauses.

1 Answer 1


For this question, you need compare where with examples of which when it is accompanied by a locative preposition, "in which", "at which", "on which".

One uses a locative pronoun with which when one wants to speak about the physical place. One uses where when one wants to refer to a location not in concrete terms, as a discrete physical place, but "in the abstract".

The skyscraper in which she works was erected two years ago. She takes the elevator to the 125th floor.

The office where she works is very busy.

The street on which he lives is very narrow.

The town where he was born is called Riverton.

The counter at which we sit for lunch has cushioned seats that spin 360 degrees.

We often meet for lunch at a diner where the waitresses are nasty but the food is excellent.

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