Is there another common way of saying: with his/her back facing me?

For example:

The person was standing in the middle of the clearing, [...back...] me.

I don't want to use his/her because I don't want to reveal the sex of the person.

Any suggestions?

  • Facing away from me? I would not believe a back could face you – mplungjan Nov 8 '13 at 7:54
  • Back doesn't "face" -- with the back to me (He was sitting with the back to me so he couldn't see ; Aurimas, sitting with the back to me, was unable to see the huge smile on my face. ; the guard walks 2 meters, then stands fixed with the back to me) – Kris Nov 8 '13 at 7:55
  • Backs do face, at least colloquially, as a Google search reveals. That's not to say that there are not better ways of saying it. – Andrew Leach Nov 8 '13 at 9:33

If the person's back is showing towards you, their face is looking the other way.

The person was standing in the middle of the clearing, facing away from me.

An object like a cube has six sides or faces and you can use facing to relate its orientation to a particular face. You do this with your example sentence, "...[their] back facing me". But because people actually have one (and only one) face, the verb is unambiguous when it does not qualify another part of the body.

As an aside, "his/her" could be replaced with their. See this question.

  • In the middle of the clearing, back to me, though not perfect, is an entirely acceptable elision. – TimLymington Nov 8 '13 at 10:40

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.