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1.If I didn't have a laptop, I would have to find somewhere I can work on the computer.

2.If I didn't have a laptop, I would have to find where I can work on the computer.

3.If I didn't have a laptop, I would have to find the place where I can work on the computer.

4.If I didn't have a laptop, I would have to find the place I can work on the computer.

a. I feel like going to where I'd get to meet a lot of people.

b. I feel like going where I'd get to meet a lot of people.

c. I feel like going to somewhere I'd get to meet a lot of people.

d. I feel like going somewhere I'd get to meet a lot of people.

x. You can park your car close to where I live.

y. You can park your car close to the place where I live.

Which one do you find the best here? Or is there any difference in meaning? I've always had a hard time figuring out which one is the best. I'm totally okay if you just say like (1,b,y)

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For the first sentence:

  • (1) with “somewhere” is fine. The adverb somewhere stands for an unknown location.
  • (2) with “where” is also correct but it has a slightly different meaning from (1), or at least different emphasis. (1) conveys the image of looking for a place and going there to work. (2) focuses on determining which locations are suitable. The second sentence will make this nuance clearer.
  • (3) with “the place where” is is grammatically correct but does not make sense in most contexts since it implies that there is a single place where you can work on the computer.
  • You could say “find a place where …” which would be fine, just like (1) “find somwehere”.
  • (4) with “the place I can work” is not grammatically correct: it uses “the place” as a direct complement of work which is not possible.

In the second sentence, the location is again unknown.

  • The sentences (a) and (b) “[to] where” do not make sense because they imply that there is a specific place where you'd get to meet a lot of people. The first sentence was about finding such a place, so it worked, but the second sentence is about going there, and to go somewhere you need to know where you're going.
  • Sentences (c) and (d) with “[to] somewhere” are ok, but I find both slightly clumsy: (c) because having an adverb after the preposition to sounds weird, and (d) because the lack of a preposition makes the multiple-clause sentence harder to parse.
  • I think “going to a place where …” would be more idiomatic.

In the third sentence, (x) with “where” is perfectly fine and idiomatic. The adverb where introduces a description of a specific place. The variant (y) with “the place where” is also fine, but I prefer (x) because “the place” is redundant here.

  • Thank you so much for what you've done to me. Could tell me if I understood right? 1. A: where do you want to play basketball? B: Well, I feel like going <to a place where / to somewhere / somewhere > there are a lot of people. All of them are possible and they imply that unknown places. 2. I want to move close to <where / the place where> you live. Both are right, because they mean definite known place. But, what I was wondering is if <to somewhere> is possible, then you mean <somewhere> can be a noun phrase? – jihoon Mar 24 '16 at 8:18
  • Or better, how about this? : Today, I feel like playing basket ball at somewhere there are a lot of people. I feel more comfortable sticking to using preposition, because in my mind, <somewhere> is the same as <a place where>, like "at a place where there are a lot of people / at somewhere there are a lot of people. – jihoon Mar 24 '16 at 8:59
  • 1. Yes. 2. “to (the place) where”: yes. About “somewhere …” being a noun phrase: I don't think it's classified as a noun phrase, because somewhere is an adverb and not a pronoun, but I'm not sure. 3. “at somewhere …” doesn't work, I'm not sure why but you have to leave out the preposition: “… play basketball somewhere there are a lot of people”. If you used place then you'd need the preposition: “play basketball in a place where there are a lot of people”. That may be a sign that “somewhere …” isn't a noun phrase, in fact. It's an adverbial phrase. – Gilles Mar 24 '16 at 12:30
  • But, here you said : find somewhere I can work on the computer, in which "somewhere S V" acts as a noun. And here's my guess : We use "the first time S V" as both an adverb and noun, like : The first time I saw you, it was love at first sight. Or, I don't remember the first time I saw you, because it's been ages. Here, we don't say "at" the fist time. I think somewhere can be used as both Noun and Adverb without a preposition, like "the first time" does. What do you think of my guess? – jihoon Mar 24 '16 at 23:06
  • @jihoon Somewhere isn't a noun: you can't say “a somewhere” or “the somewhere” or add an adjective before it. (Actually somewhere can be used as a noun but it's very unusual and it isn't the case in any of the examples here.) So it is definitely not a noun. I don't see how it could be analyzed as a pronoun either: it doesn't stand for something else. Dictionaries list it as an adverb, and that seems right to me. – Gilles Mar 24 '16 at 23:20

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