General Writing and Grammar Help/In front of the desk

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Question
Dear Ted:

You wrote the following:

If I am in my office, sitting at my desk, a student would sit in the chair that is in front of the desk.

My question is this:

When you say that the chair is in front of the desk, is the back of the chair facing you or the doorway?

By the way, is it the "back of the chair" or "the chair back"?

Thank you very much for the help.

Paolo

Answer
Dear Paolo:

You wrote the following:

If I am in my office, sitting at my desk, a student would sit in the chair that
is in front of the desk.

My question is this:

When you say that the chair is in front of the desk, is the back of the chair
facing you or the doorway?

*** The back would be facing the doorway.  Thus, the student would be facing me.

By the way, is it the "back of the chair" or "the chair back"?

*** "Back of the chair" is preferred over "the chair's back."  Many strict grammarians argue that inanimate objects, such as chairs, cannot show possession.

Common usage allows people to use "the chair's back" and other such phrases as "the table's legs."

Ted

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Ted Nesbitt

Expertise

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.

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

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