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In response to the question "Where is she?", I've heard someone say, "She's back the hall." (Cf. "She's back there.") I understand the meaning to be something like "She's down the hall," "She's in the hall," or "She's in some room connected to the hall."

It seems that back is functioning as a preposition here, as it doesn't quite fit the adverb usage in its entry at M-W.

Is this a common usage in the sense of being documented in a reliable reference work or documented as an idiom or variant outside normal usage? If so, what part of speech is back?

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what did the person mean when they said "She's back the hall"? –  Phil M Jones Dec 11 '13 at 15:03
Most likely "back" functions as an adverb here as well, and in this particular example the speaker omitted the preposition "to" - "She's back [to] the hall". –  Vilmar Dec 11 '13 at 15:08
Clarified question. –  metal Dec 11 '13 at 15:16
Given that we still have no idea where she is, other than somewhere in some way related to a hall, I'd be surprised if this is normal usage. I'm sure it isn't in British English –  Phil M Jones Dec 11 '13 at 15:21
Agreed, it could be anything OP enumerated, and some other things ("She's [in the] back [of] the hall"...). So yes, all we have is that this person is somewhere near the hall. –  Vilmar Dec 11 '13 at 15:27

1 Answer 1

No, that isn't grammatical English. Similar correct sentences would be "She's in the back of the hall" or "She's back in the hall" (note that these have different meanings). As you point out, it looks like the speaker was trying to use back as a preposition, but it can only be used as an adverb or noun.

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