A common construction in English is:

There is a person in the room next to me.

However, this is ambiguous because it’s unclear whether the person is in a separate room that happens to be adjacent to my own, or whether they are in the same room as me (and standing beside me).

Given this is grammatically correct, how would I best go about specifying which is the case?

For example:

There is a person in the adjacent room to mine.


There is another person in the same room as me.

Both seem unnecessarily confusing.

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    I would have taken it to mean in the next room. But you're correct, there is ambiguity. The room next to mine would remove the ambiguity, as would standing next to me in the room*/*with me in the room. Simple enough. – anongoodnurse Aug 6 '14 at 20:10
  • Where's the dangle? Why this subject line? – Drew Aug 6 '14 at 20:12
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    I don’t think that “grammatically correct” means what you appear to think it means. Of course those are grammatically correct. That has nothing to do with the price of tea in China, nor any issues that with this sentence might you have. – tchrist Aug 6 '14 at 20:16

To explain that there are two rooms, adjacent, with one person in each, you would typically say:

There is a person in the room next to mine.

To explain there is one room with two people in it, standing close together, you'd typically say:

There's a person right next to me, in this room!

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There is a person in the next room.

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  • Hmm, doesn't the first solution pose the same problem though? It seems like it could still apply to either case. – Tyler Petrochko Aug 6 '14 at 20:12
  • Yes, I meant the room next to this one or the next room. – Drew Aug 6 '14 at 20:14

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