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just don't understand simple words! Options
kira100
Posted: Sunday, October 18, 2020 4:56:18 AM

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Joined: 4/28/2020
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Location: Saint Petersburg, St.-Petersburg, Russia
Hi, friends! I read the comments to a video about superstitions and was not able to catch a meaning about crossing on the stairs. Here is this passage: "My mum was always coming up with lots of things you had to do like throwing salt over your shoulder, never crossing on the stairs and looking twice at a single magpie.." What does it mean - to cross the stair?d'oh! Thank you
Romany
Posted: Sunday, October 18, 2020 5:19:32 AM
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Joined: 6/14/2009
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Location: Brighton, England, United Kingdom


It means one person going up the stairs while the other is going down the stairs. So that at some stage you go past each other.

Have never heard of it as a superstition or myth; but it would be a piece of practical advice. Many homes across the UK are very, vary small and the inside staircases have narrow treads (steps) which are often quite steep. It could actually be quite dangerous if two people had to "cross" each other on the stairs as it would be easy to slip, stumble or trip. I can easily see how a mum would warn her family not to do this.
thar
Posted: Sunday, October 18, 2020 6:20:17 AM

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Yes, note this is not transitive
Crossing the stairs.

İt is intransitive + adverb of location
Crossing
on the stairs

You go on the inside.
No, you go on the inside. Your feet are smaller.
Ok, you go on the outside.
Give me some more space, then. İ don't want to fall off the edge!


kira100
Posted: Sunday, October 18, 2020 8:46:15 AM

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Joined: 4/28/2020
Posts: 24
Neurons: 654
Location: Saint Petersburg, St.-Petersburg, Russia
Thank you. I have always thought we only can cross a line if we don't go along this line (in the direction of that line ). Now one more question - We see "on the inside" and "on the outside" in the second example, is that because we are ON the stairs?Think
thar
Posted: Sunday, October 18, 2020 10:13:40 AM

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İt was a joke.
Because this is a spiral staircase there is an inside part of the staiway(closer to the central pillar) and an outside part (closer to the steep drop, or to the outer wall if there was one).
İf you pass someone on those stairs you need to carefully chose which did you want to be on.

İt was a joke because spiral staircases are rare. But narrow staircases wth bends are common. So in those cases it would actually be very logical for one of the people to wait, so two people do not cross on the stairs.
kira100
Posted: Sunday, October 18, 2020 1:15:50 PM

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Joined: 4/28/2020
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Location: Saint Petersburg, St.-Petersburg, Russia
Thank you so much for being so patient!Applause to understand a joke, you need to feel the language well enough.
Clyde of Oz
Posted: Sunday, October 18, 2020 7:47:15 PM

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Joined: 12/22/2014
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Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
I thought thar's explanation was excellent.

I would take issue, though, with the assertion that cross is necessarily an intransitive verb. There are many things that one can cross: a road, a line, the letter t. You could even cross the stairs, but it would mean crossing from one side of a (wide) staircase to the other.
kira100
Posted: Monday, October 19, 2020 8:20:52 AM

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Joined: 4/28/2020
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Location: Saint Petersburg, St.-Petersburg, Russia
Million thanks!
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