'a situation where' vs 'a situation when'

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jarek:
I would say "the alarm detects a situation where..." but I cannot explain it logically.
Nb.
Web statistics are as follows:
a situation where - 14 900 000
the situation where - 3 300 000
TOTAL -18 200 000
a situation when - 400 000
the situation when - 1 300 000
TOTAL - 1 700 000
i.e.
1:10 in favour of "where"
1:4 in favour of "a" (though people who prefer "when" also prefer "the")
is there any grammatical explanation behind this issue?

thanks,
Jarek
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D|Maxxx:
[nq:1]I would say "the alarm detects a situation where..." but I cannot explain it logically. Nb. Web statistics are as ... in favour of "a" (though people who prefer "when" also prefer "the") is there any grammatical explanation behind this issue?[/nq]
I'm not an authority here, but isn't it partially dependant on the use of an article in a given context? I mean the difference between a "the situation" and "a situation".
regards,

D>Maxxx
( PL )
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Pat Durkin:
[nq:1]I would say "the alarm detects a situation where..." but I cannot explain it logically. Nb. Web statistics are as ... in favour of "a" (though people who prefer "when" also prefer "the") is there any grammatical explanation behind this issue?[/nq]
I say "situation in which". Can't explain it beyond idiosyncrasy.
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Robert Lieblich:
[nq:2]I would say "the alarm detects a situation where..." but ... prefer "the") is there any grammatical explanation behind this issue?[/nq]
[nq:1]I say "situation in which". Can't explain it beyond idiosyncrasy.[/nq]
It's not idiosyncrasy it's idiom. And the reason that "where" is just fine is that in contexts like those under dicussion it means "in which." Go to , click on "where (2 conjunction)" and see definition 3b. Or , def. 3. Or , conjunction, def. 3b.

You can do this sort of research yourself using onelook.com.

Bob Lieblich
Onelook is your friend
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Pat Durkin:
[nq:2]I say "situation in which". Can't explain it beyond idiosyncrasy.[/nq]
[nq:1]It's not idiosyncrasy it's idiom. And the reason that "where" is just fine is that in contexts like those ... Or , def. 3. Or , conjunction, def. 3b. You can do this sort of research yourself using onelook.com.[/nq]
I didn't need it looked up. I am perfectly comfortable using what I use. I just offered jarek a third option.
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Robert Lieblich:
[nq:2]It's not idiosyncrasy it's idiom. And the reason that ... You can do this sort of research yourself using onelook.com.[/nq]
[nq:1]I didn't need it looked up. I am perfectly comfortable using what I use. I just offered jarek a third option.[/nq]
I didn't mean to sound as if I was patronizing you. My intent was to expand on the point you had made, which one minor issue of terminology aside I agreed with. I meant to address the world at large the "you" in my prior statement was supposed to be the generic "you," which, being American, I tend to use in preference to "one."
Anyway, I'd like to think that between us we pretty much covered what Jarek needs to know. That's what we're supposed to be doing here, I think.

Bob Lieblich
Somewhat abashed
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Pat Durkin:
[nq:2]I didn't need it looked up. I am perfectly comfortable using what I use. I just offered jarek a third option.[/nq]
[nq:1]I didn't mean to sound as if I was patronizing you. My intent was to expand on the point you ... us we pretty much covered what Jarek needs to know. That's what we're supposed to be doing here, I think.[/nq]
Also abashed. I have a hair-trigger. Don't know why I feel I have to defend my ego.
Sorry.
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jarek:
Pat Durkin napisal(a):
[nq:1]I say "situation in which". Can't explain it beyond idiosyncrasy.[/nq]
Before posting here I applied a simple tool of comparative grammar and looked for a conjuction which would replace both. "In which" is actually what I came up with. As I am not a native speaker it sounded a bit akward to me. You have to know an idiom to feel it.

I consulted dictionaries for 'when' and they give a similar definition in such contexts. Isn't it just a matter of popularity?

Jarek
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Pat Durkin:
[nq:1]Pat Durkin napisal(a):[/nq]
[nq:2]I say "situation in which". Can't explain it beyond idiosyncrasy.[/nq]
[nq:1]Before posting here I applied a simple tool of comparative grammar and looked for a conjuction which would replace both. ... consulted dictionaries for 'when' and they give a similar definition in such contexts. Isn't it just a matter of popularity?[/nq]
I think that popularity is as usage does. Or vice versa. Yes. We say what we are comfortable with, and most people apparently find "when" and "where" more popular than "in which".
All are correct, all are idiomatic, and I probably use "when" or "where" almost as often as "in which". I simply prefer "in which", which is my idiosyncrasy, a word I used advisedly before and use again here.
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