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Which one of the following is correct. There are pairs of chairs in a classroom and one wish to say that students should sit in the left-hand side chair, leaving the right-hand side chair empty.

  • 'Sit on your left'
  • 'Sit to your left'
  • 'sit on to your left'
  • 'sit at your left'
  • any other phrase

At some logical plane, one can never sit on one's left hand side because as soon as he sits on his LHS, his LHS changes.

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"Sit to your left" seems the best of the offered sentences, but it doesn't seem ideal. Maybe "Fill up the left-hand rows first. Be sure that the chair on your left is full and the chair on your right is empty" would be better. –  user21497 Nov 30 '12 at 3:38
    
But when arranging people at a table, for example, It's perfectly valid to say, "Jane should sit on your left." –  Jim Nov 30 '12 at 4:12
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closed as not a real question by Kris, MετάEd, tchrist, Robusto, cornbread ninja 麵包忍者 Dec 2 '12 at 2:38

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2 Answers

up vote 1 down vote accepted

The way you say it in your explanation sounds to me to be the best. I.E.

Sit in the left-hand chairs and leave the right-hand chairs empty.

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The idiomatic phrase which uses four words is

Sit on the left,

but "Sit in the left-hand chair at each desk" is clearer. As you say, using "your left" is unlikely, if only because the children or the teacher may be facing the desks from the front (when each desk's left-hand chair would be on their right).

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