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ESL forum > Grammar and Linguistics > need your opinion    

need your opinion

class centre

need your opinion
Hi there!
which is correct
We stared AT the distance or INTO the distance ( riding in a crowded train...)
Thanks a lot!

5 Feb 2009      


Personally I favourize INTO, in this case. 

5 Feb 2009     

United States

I think:
"We stared into the distance." is correct--that is what I use.
"We stared at the object in the distance."
"We stared at the distant object"
would be correct too. 
I have a feeling the grammarians are going to tell us both are technically correct, but one just "feels" better and the other is just not used.

5 Feb 2009     

United States

I agree with Douglas.  If you stare at a fixed object - like
I stared at the horizon - then you use at
but distance isn�t a fixed point - it�s a vast area and undefined- like looking into the future.

5 Feb 2009     

alien boy

There was a discussion in the forum a little while ago about �at� & �to�.

Basically, the description given by Douglas (& extrapolated on by LB) follows the same approach as noted by Swan in �Practical English Usage�. In the case above at denotes a �destination� or specific object while into denotes a direction.

So if you�re on a crowded train & you are not staring at a specific point in the distance you would be �staring into the distance� - this usually means an unfocused and/or detached stare.


5 Feb 2009