Every time one of their men was lost, the white pieces showed no mercy. Soon there was a huddle of limp black players slumped along the wall. Twice, Ron only just noticed in time that Harry and Hermione were in danger. He himself darted around the board, taking almost as many white pieces as they had lost black ones. "We're nearly there [= (at) the entrance of next room]," he muttered suddenly. "Let me think let me think..." (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone)

Does ‘are’ mean 2 or 5 in OALD or something else? : It seems to me 5. If yes, can the phrase be substituted with ‘we nearly arrived there’?

2 [intransitive] + adverb/preposition to be located; to be in a place

5 [INTRANSITIVE] + adverb/preposition to attend an event; to be present in a place

Is there any way I can easily determine things like this for future reference?

  • 3
    I can't find any meaningful distinction between (2) and (5). They both condense down to "to be located somewhere"- whether that somewhere is "at the party", "at the house", "at the concert", "at the end of the road", it's all the same.
    – Jim
    Commented Aug 13, 2013 at 4:30
  • 2
    @Jim: The only difference I can see between (2) and (5) is that (5) allows for an event to be named, rather than just a place. So, for example, that allows a speaker to say "We are at the concert" (an event) and not merely "We are in the concert hall" (a location). To the O.P.: I'd align this with (2) and not (5), although, as Jim mentions, it's really six in one hand, half dozen in the other.
    – J.R.
    Commented Aug 13, 2013 at 8:47
  • 2
    @J.R.- I saw that distinction too (which is why my examples covered those equally), but I really don't see any advantage to making the distinction. Also: This may be more LitCrit, but when Ron said, "We're nearly there" I don't think he meant literally "at the entrance of the next room," I think he meant we have almost won the chess game and defeated the impediment, in which case it's not really "a place" it's more like a state.
    – Jim
    Commented Aug 14, 2013 at 0:42

1 Answer 1


According to me, it's 2- to be in a place. We're nearly there. It can't be replaced by- we nearly arrived there. We can at most say- we have nearly reached there.

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