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How can I explain the relationship of building A to building B where building A is, e.g., on the NW corner of an intersection, and building B is on the SE corner?

Which of the following (if any) is the clearest? If none, is there a clearer way?

The building A would be diagonally opposite the building B.

The building A would be opposite the building B, with 45 degrees to the right.

The building A would be kitty-corner to the building B.

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Kind of ironic, but... I do not understand the question. Could you clarify it? –  Southpaw Hare Apr 19 '13 at 3:21
    
I try to point out the place which is "Not exactly" opposite the street but it's like corner to corner. Just wanna ask which one is common way to say from above three sentences. Thanks a lot. –  Howard Apr 19 '13 at 3:24
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What’s wrong with just saying one is kitty-corner to the other? –  tchrist Apr 19 '13 at 4:28
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"Diagonally opposite" would seem to be appropriate. –  David Aldridge Apr 19 '13 at 8:33
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Do non-Americans understand kitty-corner? I'd use "diagonally opposite" in any formal writing. –  Peter Shor Apr 19 '13 at 13:20
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4 Answers 4

Both kitty-corner and catty-corner are corruptions of cater-corner (or catercorner); they are often used by people who indeed have never heard of the original expression. Others will have heard of the original expression and regard the corruptions as ignorant vulgarisms; still others will find them acceptable, albeit very informal. My own experience in giving directions to my building is that quite a lot of people even in the United States are not familiar with any of the words, and I have therefore resorted to saying diagonally opposite from or diagonally across from when I want my meaning to be understood at once. When I am hoping for a chance to give expression to my native didacticism, I say cater-corner.

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I don't think I've ever heard anybody say "catercorner", even though that seems to be the etymological origin of the phrase. I have heard both "catty-corner" and "kitty-corner". (On the other hand, if the proper pronunciation of "catercorner" is "cat-a-corner", as Merriam-Webster seems to indicate, I may be wrong about this—I might easily not notice the difference between "catty" and "cat-a".) –  Peter Shor Apr 21 '13 at 0:51
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I assume you are asking about a situation like this:

Buildings Diagram

It is technically and mathematically correct to say that they are on opposite corners. However, this can indeed be misconstrued, as you've noted. I do not believe that there are any terms in common usage that would be guaranteed to be clear to any given audience.

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If the buildings are diagonally across an intersection, kitty-corner has exactly the right connotation, but it should be clear even when talking about a single street. From Wiktionary:

(US, Canada) (with to:) located diagonally across from something, especially across an intersection

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Gosh, I lived in the US for ten years and never heard the expression "kitty-corner". It would certainly not be familiar to a British reader. –  David Aldridge Apr 19 '13 at 8:34
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I can confirm, kitty-corner is totally unfamiliar to a British reader. –  Hugo Apr 19 '13 at 22:05
    
It's usually spelled "catercorner", but I don't believe I've ever heard it pronounced any way other than "kitty corner" or "catty corner". –  Peter Shor Apr 24 '13 at 14:37
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For me, I would say opposing corners on xyz street.

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