On your left and to your left are slightly different concepts in English. French/English dictionaries say that they are slightly different in French as well.
On your left referring to the relative position of something is sur ta gauche.
To your left referring to where you should direct your attention is à ta gauche.
At least that is what a couple of dictionaries say.
Merci! I was getting slightly confused about à vs sur meaning to/on but thanks to your help i now understand!
One problem is that prepositions are not only tricky across languages the are sometimes difficult within languages.
In English, while on and to have slightly different meanings, they are interchanged a lot.
You can answer the question ....which way should I turn to get to the restaurant .......can be answered with ....it's on your left.... or just as well ......it's to your left. It depends on whether you are emphasizing the location or what he should do to get there. Both are valid.
Preposition are highly idiomatic. We say that we "catch a cold" but, really, doesn't the cold catch us? We heard something on the radio, but never from the radio. If something's on the radio, shouldn't it be on top of the radio?
Ah, but the talk show host and the news reader are on the radio too. I've occasionally thought "well, get off it, you're too heavy and will break the radio,"
I can't think of any example in english when they wouldn't be interchangeable.
They are interchangeable in some circumstances, especially those where the terms are used as in this example, but that doesn't indicate they mean exactly the same thing.
In response the the question....which way should I turn?......most English speakers would say to your left if they wanted him to actually turn left.
If the turn you were approaching was on his left but you wanted him to turn right when he got there you might say something like.....the turn is on your left, when you get there turn to your right.
If asked "which way should I turn," most English speakers would just say "left," or maybe "turn left" or "go left." I agree that "on your left" doesn't work in that case, but "to your left" would sound a bit strange as well. To me, "turn to your left" means turning YOURSELF (either completely or just your head), not making a car turn.
I reached my destination, using my GPS, it will say that that my destination is "on left" or "on right". I haven't had a "straight ahead" just yet. Anyway, at this point, my GPS is no longer telling me to turn my car left or right, but that I can find my destination on the left or the right.
Would this be something cyclists or joggers would shout as they approach someone from behind?
Absolutely, it's a phase I use daily on my runs. Now I use this version along the banks of the Seine.
I would like to know to what extent are "sur ta gauche" and "à ta gauche" are used. I know they mean the exact same thing but where and in what proportion are they used? I know in North America we say "à ta gauche", but that's all I know.
Lol captain america winter soldier beginning. When cap was running with the falcon
The male voice pronounces this a bit more like "ou" to my ear. Curiously, I checked the pronunciation on Forvo.com and while the first audio clip is very similar, more towards "ou", all the other are more like most of the other "au" I heard. Is it some regional accent thing? Or maybe it's just an individual variation? Or maybe I'm picking up on something that the French themselves wouldn't (like Japanese who can't differentiate between "l" and "r")? These two pronunciations of "gauche" seem quite different to me.
(if this is any help in explaining what I mean, I'm native Polish, and "au" is usually for me somewhere between Polish "o" and "u", whereas "ou" is almost exactly like the Polish "u", but here I hear more of Polish "u" in the "au" than usual)
Make up your mind please .surely on your left or to your left, one of them must be right!