Can a person in a rowboat, while he is in the middle of a lake, say "I am now going to row the boat to the water's edge"?

I can imagine a man in a boat, in the middle of a lake, looking towards the shore and saying: "People on shore are carrying cargo to the water's edge". But I cannot imagine him saying "I will row this boat to the water's edge".

Is there an implied vantage point in this phrase?

  • 2
    Michael row the boat a-edge? I think not. An interesting observation--are there any parallels? Mar 30 '16 at 10:52
  • 3
    The edge is normally the outer boundary of something, but the expression "Politics, for liberals, stops at the water's edge"... definitely suggests a land-based viewpoint. Strange.
    – JavaLatte
    Mar 30 '16 at 11:45
  • No parallels come immediately to mind, but it's still my first cup of coffee. Mar 30 '16 at 11:47
  • youtube.com/watch?v=YbsKWSo1tMo Mar 30 '16 at 11:50

"Shore" would be more natural here. It would work from both sides:

I am now going to row the boat to shore.

People on land are carrying cargo to the shore.

"Shore" means "the land along the edge of a sea, lake, or other large body of water". So saying "people on shore" in the second sentence would mean the people are at the edge of the water. In reality, the people would be going back and forth between the shore and further inland to bring the cargo to the shore. So saying "on land" would make more sense.

As a native English speaker (Canada), I'd never say "I am now going to row the boat to the water's edge". It would technically be correct, and people would understand what you mean, but it would sound odd, since there is already a word meaning "water's edge".

  • True. Alternatively, you would row to the bank. Particularly if you were on a river.
    – Chenmunka
    Mar 30 '16 at 12:35

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.