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Linguaholic

What does furniture do?


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Hi everyone, I've been having a hard time finding a rule for what furniture does.

Here are some examples of what I mean, since it's hard just to describe the question:

- a closet stands on the floor.

- a rug lays on the floor.

- a chair... sits on the floor?

- a table... stands on the floor? Stand sounds better then sits, but then, standing is something you do on two legs, not four.

Does anyone know if there is an official rule for these actions?

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I personally have never thought about it like that. I never really been able to give current furniture any specific rules when referring to it. I'm positive that furniture does not have any rules but you have me thinking. I think that it is a common trend in a lot of languages that once you get a basic understanding of the language you tend to figure out your own variance and understanding of how something should be said. So as for me I think the rules you are mentioning or gathered by sheer experience of command in the English language.

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Hmmm...I too, had never really given it much though as to what is the proper descriptive writing form for writing about furniture. It really doesn't do much other than fill up a room and act as backdrop to the action that may, or may not, be taking place in the room it fills space in.

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How about changing the verbs to "was" or "is located"? "The closet is located on the floor" sounds a whole lot better to me, don't you think? Although "sit" and "stand" are pleasing to the ears as well.

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Like a lot of people on this thread, I have never really lot put that much thought into this sort of thing. I would probably say the table is set on the floor. I also don't see any problem with saying the table stands on the floor.

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Hi everyone, I've been having a hard time finding a rule for what furniture does.

Here are some examples of what I mean, since it's hard just to describe the question:

- a closet stands on the floor.

- a rug lays on the floor.

- a chair... sits on the floor?

- a table... stands on the floor? Stand sounds better then sits, but then, standing is something you do on two legs, not four.

Does anyone know if there is an official rule for these actions?

Those are good questions.  I can see why there would be confusion.

First of all, I think a closet is different because it's not really a piece of furniture; it's more like a small room and not something that can be moved.  So we would speak about where the closet "is" or "is located."  For example, the closet is down the hallway to the left. 

As for the others, a rug lies on the floor.  You could also put a rug on the floor.  And then once it's been put on the floor it lies on the floor.

A chair is on the floor even though it can be moved.  Likewise, a table also is on the floor. However, like the closet, the more pertinent details is where the chair or the table are located relative to other objects in the room.  Thus the chair is by the window, for example.

I hope this is helpful. 

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Thanks for the answers everyone.

I've tried to look around for a rule elsewhere, but there really seems to be none.

Like some of you have said, it may just come down to using a neutral manner of speech, like (is, placed on, positioned at, etc.)

I suppose you could use words like sat and stand if the sentence's clarity benefits from them. Like:

Tom lay the table on it's back

Tom stood the shoe box up straight

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I'd say, if it has legs, it can "stand" on them - simple but I think it applies in most cases. If it rises from the floor in a more or less upright position - "standing" is also ok, I think it has to be a bit intuitive.

If it lays flat on the floor, well - that is obvious.

I think "sitting" is the least often used in reference to inanimate objects, and can usually also be replaced with "standing".

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I personally have never thought about it like that. I never really been able to give current furniture any specific rules when referring to it. I'm positive that furniture does not have any rules but you have me thinking. I think that it is a common trend in a lot of languages that once you get a basic understanding of the language you tend to figure out your own variance and understanding of how something should be said. So as for me I think the rules you are mentioning or gathered by sheer experience of command in the English language.

I have actually never heard of it, in this terms,, but from the examples you have given us, I would say furniture sofa and tables fill my leaving roon, the bed causes me tio lie down and get some rest, that is the best I can do.

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- a table... stands on the floor? Stand sounds better then sits, but then, standing is something you do on two legs, not four.

Does anyone know if there is an official rule for these actions?

I don't know if there's an "official" way to describe it or not.  I've always been inclined to say that a table stands on the floor.

Yes, standing is something that humans do on two legs, but can't animals also stand on their four legs?

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I believe these terms come about based on what is most obvious. If the thing has legs(2 or 4), it stands and if it's something that can spread wide, you say lay. The same would apply when travelling. Although there may be several route to the one destination, you will hear people use, going up, down, around, over and even down under.

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