Suppose that somebody asks me how to reach a place when I am at my cousin’s. I don’t live there, but I know the place enough to give indications. Suppose that I tell that person to follow the street he is on for half a mile, and then take another road in direction of a specific town.
I always used street to mean a public road in a city/town, but what should I use when I am not sure if the road is still in the town territory?
I imagine that if I say street and the person notices he is already outside the town, he would think he went too ahead, and missed the one I was talking of. If I say road when the road is still in the town territory, he could think he is supposed to go further ahead (and probably I was not precise when I said half of a mile).
Is there any way to avoid this kind of ambiguity, or isn’t there any ambiguity at all?
Although most passages are named streets in town, and roads in between towns, it doesn’t confuse people to call them otherwise. If I say to someone, “Take that road that goes from downtown Boston to the harbor,” they won’t think, “What does he mean? It must be a street!” Or if I say, “the street between Boston and New York,” it will sound a little funny, but they will still know what I mean.
And certainly, there are streets within towns that are named Something-or-Other Road.
So using the word “road” or “street” is not really enough to tell someone whether they are in a town or outside a town, and whichever word you use is not enough to make them wonder whether you mean they are in a town or not. If you are wondering whether you are talking about being in a town or not, just say so to the person you are talking to.
Source : Link , Question Author : apaderno , Answer Author : John M. Landsberg