Opposite – opposite from – accross from


Dear All,
The use of the word “opposite” can be quite confusing particularly for learners of English; therefore, in order to help out those who may questions concerning its use, this post discusses how this word can be used in standard English.

To begin with, it is worth mentioning that the word “opposite” can be a preposition, a noun, an adjective, and an adverb.

Let’s start with the word “opposite” as a preposition. The meaning of the preposition “opposite” is on ‘the other side of’. When “opposite” is a preposition, it is incorrect to use “from” after it:

I live opposite the University (not “opposite from the University“).

In this meaning, the word “opposite” is synonymous to the phrase “across from” (see more about using the word “across” in the video below):
The library is across from (=opposite) the bank.
( not “The library is across the bank“. – this sentence would mean that one must go through the bank to get to the library).

The preposition “opposite” can also mean ‘together with/ along with’ when used in the context of playing a role in a movie or performing in the theatre (“across from” is not used in this meaning):

Jonathan Jackson played opposite Milla Jovovich in this movie.

“Opposite” can be a noun. In this function, the word means ‘the contrary’. “Opposite” as a noun is typically preceded by the definite article “the” and can stand alone or be followed by the preposition “of”:

Sorry, I meant just the opposite.
White is the opposite of black.

“Opposite” can also be an adjective meaning ‘on the other side, facing’. In this function, the word “opposite” can stand alone (without any other prepositions) or be followed by “from” or “to”:

The children were moving in opposite directions when they bumped.
Her house is in the same street, but on the opposite side from/to ours.
(=Her house is in the same street, but on the side opposite ours.)

Finally, “opposite” can be an adverb. In this function, the word means ‘in a ​position ​facing someone or something but on the other ​side’ (CDO, 2016). When “opposite” is an adverb, it should be used without “of” or “to”:

She asked the man sitting opposite if they served fresh fruit that morning.
The new houses are going to be built opposite (not opposite of/to) the institute.

Video credit: LearnAmericanEnglishOnline, “across vs across from” September 13, 2015, via YouTube.

Cambridge Dictionaries Online (CDO) (2016). Retrieved January 2, 2016 from, http://dictionary.cambridge.org/


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