The region is some 40 miles north of Seoul.

What does it mean? I personally think it means "The region is 40 miles away from the north of Seoul".

Why is there no preposition after the word mile?

  • I have edited your question now, because I think you are not really looking for the meaning, rather the reason into why there is not a preposition after miles. Am I correct?
    – CipherBot
    Aug 27 '15 at 8:17
  • Yeah..I thought the grammar/syntax using around a word could also get involved in the USAGE..sorry my bad.
    – 오준수
    Aug 27 '15 at 8:29

I think maybe you are parsing the sentence wrong:

(The region) (is) (about 40 miles north) (of Seoul).

I say this because you're asking why there is no preposition after miles, yet the word of is right there (albeit after the word north).

As a picture, it would look like this:
about 40 miles north
In English, we typically can append a direction onto a distance to describe a vector:

The cabin is about 2 miles south of the lake.
Leominster is about 50 miles west of Boston.

When the direction is omitted, a preposition might follows the unit, or we might use the word away followed by the preposition:

The store is about 3 kilometers from here.
The star is about 43 light years away from earth.


The word north has been used in the sentence as an adverb that means "toward the north".

The region is north. It implies that the region is towards the north.

The region is north of Seol. It means that the region is towards the north of Seol.

The region is some 40 miles north of Seol. It means that the region is some 40 miles (away) towards the north of Seol.


"..North of..." is the preposition in the sentence.

In English, "North of" can roughly be swapped with the common preposition "above" when referring to points on a map.

The region is some 40 miles North of Seoul.

The region is some 40 miles to the North of Seoul.

The region is some 40 miles above Seoul.

The region is some 40 miles away from Seoul.

You'll see that all of the above examples are prepositions.


You are quite right but to paraphrase the original sentence, it would mean:

The region is approximately 40 miles to the north of Seoul.

Some in this sentence means it is approximately.

  • Why there is no any preposition behind the word"miles"?
    – 오준수
    Aug 27 '15 at 8:10
  • "to the" (in "40 miles to the north") is optional and may be omitted without changing the meaning of the sentence. Aug 27 '15 at 8:12
  • @JeffreyKemp Yes i have noted that but I am explaining this in the most simplistic way I can so he could fully understand this sentence.
    – CipherBot
    Aug 27 '15 at 8:16
  • But I should not ommit "to the" when it comes to formal writting, right? It only can be acceptable in spoken english, right?
    – 오준수
    Aug 27 '15 at 8:35
  • 1
    @오준수 - The "to the" is not required, even in formal writing.
    – J.R.
    Aug 27 '15 at 10:03

Not quite. When the distance between to locations that are not singular points (e.g. a city) is given, the usual interpretation is that the distance is measured more-or-less from the center of the location. For a city, it might be the "central business district" or some other commonly accepted central location.

I would expect few people to interpret the statement as being in relation to some northerly extremity of the city (so it is not "40 miles away from the north of Seoul").

P.S. the word "some" implies the speaker is only estimating the distance (i.e. it is not exactly 40 miles)

  • Why there is no any preposition behind the "miles"? You know , mile is a noun..
    – 오준수
    Aug 27 '15 at 8:12
  • It doesn't need any. What preposition are you thinking of? Aug 27 '15 at 8:13
  • Like "from"..or "to"
    – 오준수
    Aug 27 '15 at 8:31

"Some" defines quantity, but in this case it also gives an approximation (on how far away the region is from Seoul), so you are partially right.

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