Hello, there, 

Michael Swan in his book "Practical English Usage" says that we can't use "in front of" in the following context:

There's a garage in front of my house.

And he suggested using "opposite," "facing" or "across from" instead.

I just imagined that I was living in a gated community or in a senior gated community, or suppose that I was living alone in an isolated area, owning a private garage in front of my house. See! It seems natural.😁 Why does Swan say we can't use "in front of" in the context above"? I'll attach what I've read.

Thanks in advance.

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Hi, Hussein and happy Eid Ul-Adha,

It is great to see you and your enlightening threads here. If you allow me, this is just my take on this issue. I think it depends on what you mean by 'garage'. If you mean a place to park your car, then using 'in front of' seems natural. However, if you mean a place where you buy petrol or where you can fix your car, then 'opposite' is the better one.  

BTW, the following thread is closely related to this topic:

https://thegrammarexchange.inf...cc/topic/in-front-of

 

ahmed_btm posted:
I think it depends on what you mean by 'garage'. If you mean a place to park your car, then using 'in front of' seems natural. However, if you mean a place where you buy petrol or where you can fix your car, then 'opposite' is the better one.

Hi, Hussein and Ahmed,

Normally, a garage and a house are either attached to each other or separated from each other by something, such as a street or driveway.

If the house and garage are attached to each other, the garage is part of the house, and we can say, e.g., "There is a garage at the front of my house."

If the house and garage are separated from each other by a driveway or a street, then it is normal to use "across from" or "opposite," as Rachel and Swan observe.

Hussein, you're right that we can invent unusual  contexts in which the expression that Swan advises against can be used -- for example:

  • There is a garage in front of my house! It's sitting on my front lawn. I have no idea how it got there, but maybe my wife does. One of her friends from college is in the mobile-home business. This is probably his doing.

The garage is on the speaker's property. It is on his front lawn. There is nothing between his house and it, and there is thus no need to use "across from."

Swan had in mind normal contexts, not all possible contexts. There is nothing ungrammatical about the sentence "There is a garage in front of my house."

Hussein Hassan posted:

I don't know whether this is possible here or not. 🤔

I'd be happy to connect the two of you. Do you check the Yahoo account associated with your Grammar Exchange membership, Hussein? I can see that e-mail address of yours. Shall I give it to Ahmed? He and I occasionally communicate in e-mail, and I have an e-mail from him right now about this.

David, Moderator posted:
Hussein Hassan posted:

I don't know whether this is possible here or not. 🤔

I'd be happy to connect the two of you. Do you check the Yahoo account associated with your Grammar Exchange membership, Hussein? I can see that e-mail address of yours. Shall I give it to Ahmed? He and I occasionally communicate in e-mail, and I have an e-mail from him right now about this.

Yes, David go ahead. 

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