[Tagging] surface=ground/dirt/earth

Murry McEntire murry.mcentire at gmail.com
Thu Mar 13 19:04:08 UTC 2014


On Thu, Mar 13, 2014 at 11:01 AM, Fernando Trebien <
fernando.trebien at gmail.com> wrote:

> It seems that:
> - if a surface can be grass or paved, asphalt, concrete,
> paving_stones, etc., then it seems the only reason to state "the
> surface consists of ground" is if it's unpaved and without vegetation,
> right?
> - the American usage of "dirt" (as in "your car will get dirty") is a
> broad description for 3 more specific values: earth, gravel and
> compacted (different from loose gravel or soil)
>
>
Ground has multiple meanings some of which are very broad. When speaking of
"I walk the ground", "breaking ground" (as in construction or farming),
"above ground", or "below ground"; it would seem to fit the Oxford
definition of: the solid surface of the earth (world). The dictionary also
gives a definition of ground as a generic term to be qualified, such as
"marshy ground". (And to muddle things, when you think it might mean a
natural surface - the Oxford gives the (British) definition of "the floor
of a room".)

Upon seeing surface=ground for a road, my first reaction is to wonder what
is meant by that? Upon pondering, it is a land surface of the world that is
not raised or improved but may be worn and could be almost any natural
surface which may include ruts through vegetation.

Of course I could ponder more and give another dozen definitions; many
conflicting.
"Ground" is a poor term because it has so many similar, but still different
meanings (very ambiguous) when used to describe a surface; with its most
common meaning being very general and not describing the material of the
surface.

As to American usage of "dirt", the example is poor -- if you stick with
the noun, not the related adjective, saying "your pants have dirt on them"
would likely be interpreted as loam, clay, soil, or the like; not gravel.
To me, a "dirt road" is most often a natural soil (clay, loam, sand, etc.).
It may be compacted or graded. I would refer to a road surfaced with gravel
as a "gravel road".
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