General Writing and Grammar Help/Walk by someone

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Question
Dear Ted:

Does the phrase/expression "to walk by someone" exist?

If so, what does it mean?

Would you please give me some examples of how to use it?

As always, many, many thanks for your valuable help.

Paolo

Answer
Dear Paolo:

Does the phrase/expression "to walk by someone" exist?

If so, what does it mean?

Would you please give me some examples of how to use it?

*** The expression exists. It could be just a simple statement meaning that, while you were walking, you passed by another person.  In almost all cases, however, the statement suggests that you passed by someone you know, but you did not bother to speak to that person.

EXAMPLES:  

John and I had had a bad argument, so when I walked by him on the campus, I turned my head and didn't speak to him.

When I see a gang of unruly young people on the street, I quietly walk on by them and hope they do not bother me.

Paolo, there is a popular song -- probably at least 20 years old -- that has this line:  "When you see me coming down the street, just WALK ON BY."  It's a song about a couple who had been in love and then ended their relationship.  "Walk on by" means "leave me alone."

Ted

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Ted Nesbitt

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I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.

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I have been one of the highest-ranked volunteers in this category for more than a decade.

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B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

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