Waddya Think?

I’m not aware of a rule about this, but doesn’t the phrase around the world make more sense than across the world? Seeing as the world is a sphere (and don’t let the Flat Earth Society tell you any different!) around seems more accurate than across, right? Or am I plunging too deep into the well of preciseness? Talk to me, readers.

9 Responses to “Waddya Think?”
  1. Mary Lewis says:

    You’re absolutely right, at least as far as this anal person is concerned.

  2. BartE says:

    Agreed. But what about “people across the country” vs. “people around the country”? The country being flatter than the world.

  3. Mary Lewis says:

    “People all over the world/country” would only work if the country were on, say, Mars. At this point, one can assume that the country is part of the world.

  4. The Crow says:

    I think that the difference in usage correlates to a difference in viewpoint. “Around the world” suggests one who sees the big picture and wishes to incorporate that worldview in his speech, while “across the world” implies a limited view in which the world, no matter how much one may understand to the contrary, appears flat and endless from the perspective of one on the ground.

    I think that from a practical standpoint the argument is probably frivolous (perhaps just another skirmish in the vast front of prescriptivism v. descriptivism) but it could have interesting implications for subtle character shading in fiction. It says a fair amount about a character whether they use one phrase or the other, doesn’t it?

    • cbgaines says:

      Crow: Great point. It’s nice to have someone bring a fiction writer’s viewpoint to the blog. I have to admit that my background is in nonfiction, so I welcome a more creative voice to the conversation.

  5. Gerry Unrau says:

    I would be inclined to think that ‘across the country’ would indicate ‘from one end of the country to the other end of the country’, as countries are finite. ‘Around the country’ would be correct when dealing with various areas within the country, not specifically the entire country. But definitely ‘Around the world’, as I dont believe that you can cross the world, as the world is spherical and has no finite edges. And even more specifically, the phrase ‘Around the globe’ definitely defines a sphere. The verb ‘To cross’ means to move from one side of something to the other side, making the assumption that something has sides. The noun ‘side’ is defined as one of the surfaces forming the outside of or bounding a thing, or one of the lines bounding a geometric figure or either of the two broad surfaces of a thin, flat object, as a door, a piece of paper, etc. And the ‘world’ is defined as the earth. I can see that some would view the world as a flat ‘map’ which you could, in fact, cross. However, a map is just a 2 dimensional description or interpretation of a 3 dimensional thing. Enough said. Nothing on earth makes me more cross than when I have to pick sides on a subject that is debated around the world!!

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