In my English learning book the exercise often reads:

Read the text opposite and answer the questions below.

What does the word 'opposite' mean in this sentence?

1 Answer 1


"Opposite" in this context means "across from this text you are reading right now". It may mean on the other open page of the book, in a sidebar column, or just to the right or left. The root of the usage is that the text you're being instructed to read is positioned "opposed", or counterposed, to the text doing the instructing.

  • 1
    Ha! Finally, I fully understand the exercises. :)
    – user3406
    Mar 1, 2011 at 21:04
  • @Jasper Loy: Technically I guess somebody could do that, but I think it would be a poorly advised usage. I've never encountered it, and it seems like bad textbook/workbook design, confusing to the student. The "opposite" text being presently visible is apparently confusing enough.
    – chaos
    Mar 1, 2011 at 21:06
  • @chaos it is released by Oxford University. I think they do know how to teach, but still, it was unclear. :)
    – user3406
    Mar 1, 2011 at 21:12
  • @Radek S: Oh, I didn't mean your book was poorly designed. I meant that one that said "opposite" and meant that you should look on the other side of the same sheet of paper would be.
    – chaos
    Mar 1, 2011 at 21:19
  • 3
    @Jasper Loy: If the text were on the other side of the same sheet, then "overleaf" (occasionally abbreviated to just "over") would be more appropriate.
    – psmears
    Mar 1, 2011 at 21:21

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