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Can I say "Draw a triangle around the strawberry" when I want someone who is reading a book, in which there is a picture of a strawberry, to draw a triangle in that book in such a way that the strawberry is inside of the triangle (in which case the triangle must, of course, be bigger than strawberry)?

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  • It's not ambiguous or incorrect but it is super weird!
    – Jeremy
    Sep 20, 2011 at 4:42
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    100% of native literate English speakers will interpret this the way you want.
    – Lisa
    Sep 20, 2011 at 5:37

3 Answers 3

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It is correct but if you feel that using "around" would confuse by seemingly requiring a circle when you have asked for a triangle, you could say "surrounding" or "enclosing".

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  • In other words "Find a strawberry on page 18 and draw one triangle surrounding/enclosing that strawberry" would be fine, right?
    – brilliant
    Sep 20, 2011 at 5:30
  • Yes. Virtually no native speaker would quibble with that. Sep 20, 2011 at 5:47
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    I don't think the original sentence is at all confusing.
    – Colin Fine
    Sep 20, 2011 at 13:04
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Yes. That is correct, and should not be ambiguous.

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'Around' is usually used with drawing circles. Eg. Draw a circle around an object.

In popular culture, there's a "Kohler" commercial in which it's said, "Design a House around this..". Hope it explains the subtlety of the words.

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